Publisher: Faber & Faber
Length: 688 pages
About: 1940's man caught up in US/Mexico politics
Style: Diary, letters, newspaper articles and dialogue
Where: US and Mexico
When: 1930s to 1950s
The Lacuna is the heartbreaking story of a man's search for safety of a man torn beween the warm heart of Mexico and the cold embrace of 1950s McCarthyite America.
Born in the U.S. and reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salomé. Making himself useful in the household of the famed Mexican artists Diego
Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, young Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution. A violent upheaval sends him north to a nation newly caught up in
World War II. In the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina he remakes himself in America's hopeful image. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns
many times on the unspeakable breach - the lacuna - between truth and public presumption.
A gripping story of identity, loyalty and the devastating power of accusations to destroy innocent people. The Lacuna is as deep and rich as the New World.
Salome hated that her son was now taller than she was: the first time she noticed, she was furious, then morose. In her formula of life, this meant she was two-thirds dead. 'The first part of life
is childhood. The second is your child's childhood. And then the third, old age.' Another mathematics problem with no practical solution, especially for the child. growing backward, becoming unborn:
that would have been just the thing.
Every few years, you read a book that makes everything else in life seem unimportant. The Lacuna is the first book in a long time that made me swap my bike for public
transport, just so I could keep reading.
Nina Lakhani, The Independent, 1st November 2009
Not so good:
...Yet the novel's later sections are marred by overstated irony, the dialogue too often staged between characters who agree, making for an authorial soapbox.
Maya Jaggi, The Guardian, 7th November 2009
About the author
Barbara Kingsolver (born April 8, 1955) is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the former Republic of Congo in her early childhood.
Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels.