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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.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
This book replaces 'The Bean Trees' as my favorite Kingsolver book. It was the first book I have read in a long time that was more then a distraction for my train ride to work; I stayed up all night unable to put it down. Mrs. Kingsolver has a way of story telling that is unique to mainstream authors... If a friend asked me what the story was about, I have no way of answering that does any justice to the way she tells a story... "it's a life story of a boy that goes diving and grows up to work for diego and frida, then goes on to be a writer". It should be read by all, you won't regret buying this book
This book was captivating from start to finish. The history included was made to be very interesting. The main character kept me page turning for more, the development of the characters was phenomenal. I have already recommended it to many friends and family of all reading styles. I just hated for the book to end.
An excellent read, well suited to our times.