In The Lacuna, her first novel in nine years, Barbara Kingsolver, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, tells the story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man caught between two worlds—an unforgettable protagonist whose search for identity will take readers to the heart of the twentieth century’s most tumultuous events.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Barbara Kingsolver’s gorgeous epic follows the life of a fictional man who becomes entangled with two real-world 20th-century icons. Harrison Shepherd was born in the U.S. but came of age in Mexico, working as a house boy for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and getting an intimate glimpse into their artistic and revolutionary worlds. When Harrison returns to the States, McCarthyism is in full swing and he’s swept into tense hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Kingsolver’s extensive geographical and cultural research—and her brilliance at intertwining history and fiction—make The Lacuna a totally spellbinding read.
Kingsolver's ambitious new novel, her first in nine years (after the The Poisonwood Bible), focuses on Harrison William Shepherd, the product of a divorced American father and a Mexican mother. After getting kicked out of his American military academy, Harrison spends his formative years in Mexico in the 1930s in the household of Diego Rivera; his wife, Frida Kahlo; and their houseguest, Leon Trotsky, who is hiding from Soviet assassins. After Trotsky is assassinated, Harrison returns to the U.S., settling down in Asheville, N.C., where he becomes an author of historical potboilers (e.g., Vassals of Majesty) and is later investigated as a possible subversive. Narrated in the form of letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings, the novel takes a while to get going, but once it does, it achieves a rare dramatic power that reaches its emotional peak when Harrison wittily and eloquently defends himself before the House Un-American Activities Committee (on the panel is a young Dick Nixon). "Employed by the American imagination," is how one character describes Harrison, a term that could apply equally to Kingsolver as she masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Wonderful book. Moving, uplifting, smart. Love how it flows through time and cultures. Lush language, startling twists and turns.
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
Boring, no pace, no story
I gave up on this book after the first two chapters. There is nothing here that will keep you interested: boorish and stereotypes that you won’t give a cr@p about—from the Indians, hacienda owner, money grubbing mother...the writing is just plain awful and pretentious.