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THE BEAN TREES A Novel <i> by Barbara Kingsolver (Perennial / Harper & Row: $7.95)</i>

A girl growing up in Pittman County, Ky., could “get hogtied to a future as a tobacco farmer’s wife.” So thinks Missy Greer as she makes her plan to leave. She buys a car (“a ’55 Volkswagon bug with no windows to speak of, and no back seat and no starter”) and heads West.

By the time she gets to Tucson, she has changed her name to Taylor and acquired an abused 3-year-old American Indian girl, whom she names “Turtle.”

Taylor gets her ailing car into the Jesus Is Lord Tire Co. only to discover that it is also a shelter for Central American refugees. At the end of the novel, Taylor takes a Guatemalan couple to Oklahoma, where they might make a home in anonymity.

A lively, homespun first novel.

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