The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver Paperback Book

Details

Rent The Lacuna

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Format: Quality Paperback, Unabridged-CD

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Published: Sep 2010

Genre: Fiction - General

Retail Price: $16.99

Pages: 544

Synopsis

In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.

Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.

Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.

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Reviews

BookLender review by Natalie on 2010-02-16 12:29:34

Kingsolver is a master at writing emotionally engaging stories with characters you come to love while mixing in a background of interesting historical information. The history/science was always secondary to the story so you wound up learning whilst being engaged by the story the characters told. This was the first book that I felt focused on the history of the time and less on the characters. If you are a historical fiction buff and are interested in this particular time in history I think she did a brilliant job. I'm not, so I wasn't able to finish the book.