Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I HATE Nathan Price

...but I have to admit to loving Barbara Kingsolver. In The Poisonwood Bible, she has created a character whom I hate, loathe, abhore and despise. Nathan Price is an ignorant, arrogant, self-righteous bastard of a zealot, and Kingsolver has crafted his character with such detail and nuance that I just want to reach into the pages and adjust the man with a frying pan upside the head.

It's a strange sort of delight I'm taking in this book: I really do hate Price, and I'm furious and frustrated with Orleanna, his wife, for allowing herself and her children to be ruled by this man who cares more for his own self-image and the sound of his own voice than he does for the welfare of his family (though he has convinced himself that he is on God's own path and that glory will be his. Please). It's almost difficult to read the book, but I recognize that my intense feelings are evidence of the skill of the author and my investment in the story.

The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy, and I am anything but apathetic about these characters.

(the image on this post is of John Stauffacher, Missionary to the Belgian Congo in the early 1900's. I came up with his photo when I Googled "missionary, Congo." Perhaps not strangely, he has precisely the same severe, dour look I would expect Nathan Price to have.)


Blogger Kizz said...

It's a great book, huh? I read it ages ago and still remember certain specific images from it.

I'm also fascinated by the Congo and how weird and awful the missionary process was there. Might be time to go back and actually READ Heart of Darkness instead of just listening to the discussion and taking the test.

10:02 AM  

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