Ten years ago, Barbara Kingsolver published a first novel that is well on its way to becoming a classic work of American fiction. The Bean Trees is a book readers have taken to their hearts. It is now a standard in college literature classes across the nation and has been translated for a readership stretching from Japan to Romania.
When it was first published, however, its author was unknown. Word of mouth spread slowly among booksellers, librarians, critics and readers with a passion to share their favorite books. In The Bean Trees they found a spirited protagonist, Taylor Greer, who grew up in poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when Taylor heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time she arrives in Tucson, she has acquired a completely unexpected child and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.
Most readers of The Bean Trees discovered the novel in its paperback edition. On the 10th anniversary of its first publication, HarperFlamingo is proud to offer readers this special hardback edition, redesigned to be easy on the eyes and priced to be accessible to every lover of good fiction.
Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. In 2000 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.