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The Lacuna: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
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The Lacuna: A Novel (edition 2009)

by Barbara Kingsolver

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4,2832331,625 (3.87)1 / 599
Member:KABLOOEY
Title:The Lacuna: A Novel
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Harper (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Recently added byprivate library, Erina39, skmcwhirter, kayhag5, BrklynOutreach, bradylouie
  1. 110
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (GreenVelvet)
  2. 71
    The Bean Trees | Animal Dreams | Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (readerbabe1984)
  3. 40
    Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It is set in Mexico and deals, obliquely and amusingly, with women's rights.
  4. 10
    Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books feature a lonely, gay child growing up, finding salvation in books.
  5. 10
    The Years with Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuentes (charlie68)
    charlie68: Another Novel with Frida Kahlo as a character.
  6. 10
    Any Human Heart by William Boyd (lizchris)
    lizchris: A fictional character who encounters real people from history across their lifetime.
  7. 11
    Sonntagsträumerei in der Alameda by Bodo Uhse (edwinbcn)
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English (232)  French (1)  All languages (233)
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
Historical fiction about Mexico, Trotsky, McCarthy, and more, really well written. It read very slowly, and is a big book, but very little was expendable! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I listened to the audio version which was narrated by the author. I’m quite sure that my experience of the book was richer than it would have been if I had read it in print. Kingsolver knows her characters and she is able to express them through her voice. But even without this, the writing is pure magic! Every character is so vivid and I cared to know each bit I heard them say or do. The story takes place beginning in Mexico in the early 1900s and the scene is wonderfully set. Kingsolver is so good at giving meaningful information in ways that can be playful, fun, and also powerful.

The story is about an American boy raised in Mexico by a mother who is mostly interested in herself. He comes to know some famous historical people who have an impact on him. One of these is Trotsky. Others are artists. The boy is interested in writing at an early age. The story progresses into post-World War II in America including Hoover and McCarthy chasing the threats of communist conspiracies. So there is quite a bit of history included, but not at the expense of the story. Besides caring so much about the main character, I loved V.B. who is his secretary in the later years. That character is so great to listen to, but I think that the way she expresses herself will shine through from the printed page as well.

I highly recommend this delightful and meaningful book. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
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.
  JESGalway | May 31, 2018 |
Not as good as The Poisonwood Bible, but it is still beautiful writing! ( )
  knp4597 | Mar 19, 2018 |
An easy read, the pages flew by. The story shifts from Mexico to Washington, D.C. and then finally Asheville, North Carolina, in different eras, a good trip through them. ( )
  charlie68 | Mar 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
Kingsolver, at the top of her craft, builds pyramids of language and scenic highways through mountains of facts, while plotting a mostly tight course through the fictional premises that convey her writing’s social conscience. In this book, pacifism, social justice, and free expression are the standards she shoulders.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Celia McGee (Dec 1, 2009)
 
“The Lacuna” can be enjoyed sheerly for the music of its passages on nature, archaeology, food and friendship; or for its portraits of real and invented people; or for its harmonious choir of voices. But the fuller value of Kingsolver’s novel lies in its call to conscience and connection.
 
Barbara Kingsolver's new novel, "The Lacuna," is the most mature and ambitious one she's written during her celebrated 20-year career, but it's also her most demanding. Spanning three decades, the story comes to us as a collection of diary entries and memoir, punctuated by archivist's notes, newspaper articles, letters, book reviews and congressional transcripts involving some of the 20th century's most radical figures. The sweetness that leavened "The Bean Trees" and "Animal Dreams" has been burned away, and the lurid melodrama that enlivened "The Poisonwood Bible" has been replaced by the cool realism of a narrator who feels permanently alienated from the world.
 
A serious problem with The Lacuna is telegraphed in its striking title. "Lacuna" refers to a gap or something that's absent. The motif of the crucial missing piece runs throughout the novel, but the thing unintentionally missing here is an engaging main character. Our hero, Harrison Shepherd, is an accidental onlooker to history buffeted by other people's plans and passions.
 
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.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
 
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Dedication
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In the beginning were the howlers.
Quotations
A novel! Why do you say this won't liberate anyone? Where does any man go to be free, whether he is poor or rich or even in prison? To Dostoyevsky! To Gogol!
The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know.
Does a man become a revolutionary out of the belief he’s entitled to joy rather than submission?
The Painter took a book down to show it off: a codex. Made a hundred years ago by monks, who laboured to make exact replicas of the ancient books the Mexica people made on thick tree-bark paper. It didn't have pages exactly, but was one long folded paper like an accordion. The ancient language is pictures, little figures. He said it was the Codex Boturini, about the peregrinations of the Azteca.... The long page was divided into two hundred fourteen small boxes, each one recording the main thing that happened in that year.... Small, inked footprints trailed down the full length of the book, the sad black tracks of heartache.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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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"The story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man caught between two worlds -- Mexico and the United States in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s -- and whose search for identity takes readers to the heart of the twentieth century's most tumultuous events"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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