The Lacuna

The Lacuna 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

  • Title: The Lacuna
  • Author: Barbara Kingsolver
  • ISBN: 9780060852573
  • Page: 274
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 householdIn 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 valuable to her employer

    • ↠ The Lacuna ☆ Barbara Kingsolver
      274 Barbara Kingsolver

    About “Barbara Kingsolver

    • Barbara Kingsolver

      Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa 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 Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a non fiction account of her family s attempts to eat locally.Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity, and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments Each of her books published since 1993 have been on The New York Times Best Seller list Kingsolver has received numerous awards, including the UK s Orange Prize for Fiction 2010, for The Lacuna and the National Humanities Medal She has been nominated for the PEN Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize.In 2000, Kingsolver established the Bellwether Prize to support literature of social change Kingsolver was born in Annapolis, Maryland in 1955 and grew up in Carlisle in rural Kentucky When Kingsolver was seven years old, her father, a physician, took the family to the former Republic of Congo in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo Her parents worked in a public health capacity, and the family lived without electricity or running water.After graduating from high school, Kingsolver attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on a music scholarship, studying classical piano Eventually, however, she changed her major to biology when she realized that classical pianists compete for six job openings a year, and the rest of them get to play Blue Moon in a hotel lobby She was involved in activism on her campus, and took part in protests against the Vietnam war She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1977, and moved to France for a year before settling in Tucson, Arizona, where she would live for much of the next two decades In 1980 she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Arizona, where she earned a Master s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology.Kingsolver began her full time writing career in the mid 1980s as a science writer for the university, which eventually lead to some freelance feature writing She began her career in fiction writing after winning a short story contest in a local Phoenix newspaper In 1985 she married Joseph Hoffmann their daughter Camille was born in 1987 She moved with her daughter to Tenerife in the Canary Islands for a year during the first Gulf war, mostly due to frustration over America s military involvement After returning to the US in 1992, she separated from her husband.In 1994, Kingsolver was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, DePauw University She was also married to Steven Hopp, that year, and their daughter, Lily, was born in 1996 In 2004, Kingsolver moved with her family to a farm in Washington County, Virginia, where they currently reside In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Duke University, where she delivered a commencement address entitled How to be Hopeful.In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, Kingsolver says, I never wanted to be famous, and still don t, the universe rewarded me with what I dreaded most She says created her own website just to compete with a plethora of fake ones, as a defence to protect my family from misinformation abhors a vacuum If you don t define yourself, it will get done for you in colourful ways.

    253 thoughts on “The Lacuna

    • I hated this book I couldn t even finish it I started it and had so much trouble reading it that I put it down and didn t even want to pick it back up Curious, I went to to see what other people had said about it Surprisingly, a lot of people loved it A couple of people couldn t finish it, but the majority gave it good reviews So I thought I d give it another try Ugh For the life of me, I couldn t figure out its appeal I just Googled it and found a NPR review that made me feel much better It cal [...]

    • The Lacuna is really two books One, the latter, is quite engaging, with a well written historical perspective, emotional content, a bit of action The other is an overlong back story, very light on involvement, written as if the author was watching the events and characters from behind a cloud Considering that the stable of characters includes Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, it takes some effort to make them dull.The Lacuna is Kingsolver s attempt at a grand historical novel She begins in 1929 in M [...]

    • The story is told as the collected journals of Harrison Shepherd, put together after his death by his secretary and friend Violet Brown Beginning with his childhood, just before WorldWar2 , as his mexican mother leaves his american father and takes him with her back to mexico Harrison writes his journals because he can t help but write, like other people cannot help breathing, he is destined to become an author one day.Harrison s childhood is surreally beautiful, the problems of his chain smokin [...]

    • Placed in context with Kingsolver s other books this is essentially worthless She turns Freida Kahlo into the most magical pixie dream girl ever and gives us a main character so thoroughly desexed and generally grey that one sort of imagines him as a Ken doll, completely generic and non threating in every possible way And I KNOW that s sort of the point of the main character, but still, he is pretty much one of the least enjoyable protagonists I ve ever read since all you do is spend time with h [...]

    • Onvan The Lacuna Nevisande Barbara Kingsolver ISBN 60852577 ISBN13 9780060852573 Dar 508 Safhe Saal e Chap 2009

    • I had the privilege of listening to Kingsolver read this aloud as well as reading the printI love her Her voice and her style of narration, her perfectly articulated words and sounds all captivated me instantly Hearing V.B s voice as Kingsolver intended it is what made me want to just hug Violet Brown The characters were so lovable even though I d never want to hang out with Harrison or Violet in real life, but Trotsky definitely.I have heard people say that this book had a political agenda I ha [...]

    • Yep, Barbara Kingsolver does it again, with a book that almost demands that you keep reading This is the story of Harrison William Shepherd, the son of a Mexican mother, and an American father The father is indifferent to the boy, and his mother longs for romance and adventure, so she returns to Mexico with the boy.The book is written as if it is a diary or journal of Harrison s life from his earliest memories He details his life in Mexico, where through a series of events, he becomes the cook i [...]

    • I don t give a book the 5 stars without much consideration This author s beautiful language and the things she taught me make Lacuna very special to me.I found myself in the bright and colorful world of Frida Kahlo s Mexico, and the gloomy sphere of the iron curtain and our country s disturbing consequences of McCarthyism A real work of art that took me away from my cozy home.It s not a quick read or one you can put down without considering all the circumstances of all the main characters Hope a [...]

    • About a week before I started reading Lacuna, my friend asked me when I thought Barbara Kingsolver was going to write a gay character Little did we knowThe fascinating part of Shepherd s homosexuality, of his entire character really, is how it is revealed Slowly, carefully, the way we had to peel away the thinest possible onion skins to put on slides in my 6th grade science class Most of this story is told through Shepherd s journal entries, entries in which the pronoun I is notably lacking It s [...]

    • 3 1 2 starsThe two sections of this book are different enough that it could almost be reviewed as two separate books They really are THAT different.First 275 pages or so 4 starsFinal 230 pages or so 2 stars Kingsolver is at the peak of her descriptive powers in the first part of the book Her bright, lively detailing of Harrison s early life in Mexico compensates for the patchiness of the narration Add to that the real characters of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Lev Leon Trotsky, and it makes fo [...]

    • The only disappointing thing about this book was that I finished it, and have no new Kingsolver books to look forward to As always, her writing is exquisite I found myself re reading parts just to savor her use of language.The Lacuna is a novel based on real events in history the Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and the period in the 1930 s when Trotsky was exiled in Mexico I learned a lot while enjoying a good story, not really sure where it was heading but oh does it come together [...]

    • Is there anyone who writes with such beauty as Barbara Kingsolver She has an ability to transform the reader from reading on a dreary porch to Isla Pixol, Mexico of the 1930s to Asheville, North Carolina of the 1940s To transform someone from a beloved novelist to a scourge to be abhorred overnight The Lacuna is about Harrison Shepherd, son of a Mexican woman and a US government official, who belonged to both countries, yet not to either of them He wound up working for Diego Rivera and Frida Kah [...]

    • I really liked the first part roughly half of this book about a boy Harrison who is being raised by a mother who eeks out an existence by sponging off the men she manages to ensnare The setting is 1930 s Mexico Mexican artists Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo are an integral part of the story, as is Lev Trotsky leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and Rivera s friend and houseguest The second half of the book completely switches gears The setting is Asheville NC where Harrison is living the l [...]

    • Kingsolver s best book since The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna is the story of a diffident, unassuming man who is thrust unwillingly onto the centre stage of history Harrison Shepherd, is born in America but raised in Mexico by his half American, half Mexican mother, a woman who is temperamentally discontented with her position in society and is always seeking to improve it through a series of affairs with married men As a youth, Harrison becomes involved with the painters Diego Rivera and Frida [...]

    • This is quite the novel, as full and satisfying as anything I ve read in some time Its picture of Mexico in the 30 s is spot on, and the characters of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Lev Trotsky feel fresh and sharp The political correctness which bored me in Barbara Kingsolver s novels seem naive has developed she s showing, not preaching A wonderful read by an author who is at her best.

    • Over the past 15 years, I have read most of Kingsolver But, The Lacuna was a huge disappointment for me I had a hard time finishing it But, out of respect for her 15 years of research, I slogged through it Recently, I checked out her NPR review as suggested by other Goodread reviewers Most loved it but a few discerning folks also had a problem Voila NPR stated, Lacuna refers to a gap or something that s absent The motif of the crucial missing piece runs throughout the novel, but the thing uninte [...]

    • For some or other reason, being a staunch admirer of Barbara Kingsolver s books, I just could not connect with this one anywhere Do I blame the author No We, the book and I, just did not gel and that s it.What I appreciated 1 Historical background of Mexican history going back thousands of years, and American society between 1900 and or less 1955 brilliant with enough detail to last a lifetime.2 The characters The protagonist as introduced by Violet Brown, his personal assistant and last friend [...]

    • I tried tried tried to like this bookI am a huge Kingsolver fan so I expected it would grow into something wonderful I liked the beginning, but once the main character was shipped off to the US, I lost total interest I was already a little irritated by the disjointed, journal style but was enjoying the character s adventures in Mexico But when he ended up in the US with his weird father unpleasant characters, I forced myself to finish the first 100 pages then stopped took me 3 struggling weeks t [...]

    • This is a great read that satisfies on several levels A key pleasure is Kingsolver s prose, which shines as we would expect from her track record of essays and novels about rural folks in Appalachia and the Southwest It also satisfies as a coming of age tale of a half Mexican, half American boy, Harrison Shepherd, raised by his mother on an island near Vera Cruz and later transferred to the care of his father, who dumps him in a boarding school in Washington, DC Shepherd seeks solace from his em [...]

    • This one is so close to being 5 stars It s got the scope and ambition of The Poisonwood Bible, but with the butterfly touch of her breezier novels Ranging from the 1930s Mexico of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and exiled Lev Trotsky to the 1950s America of J Edgar Hoover, this book uses an epic backdrop to tell the story of one solitary, forgotten man The dozen or so different formats including journals, book reviews, letters, newspaper articles, and transcripts are deftly handled and perfectly pac [...]

    • This book is a powerful expos of our country s experiences and eventual recovery from the time of the depression until after World War II, up to and including the McCarthy era The reminder of the world s decay and the violent politics of that time made me shudder as I read it The book traces the life of a fictitious person, Harrison Shepherd, a rather lost soul, born in the United States of an American father, a government worker, and a Mexican mother of rather loose morals He is shuttled from o [...]

    • Every night while I was reading this book, I dreamt of its characters I enjoyed the leisurely first part, but when Kingsolver plunged into the Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Lev Trotsky section, I plunged deeper with her And by the time the protagonist is writing books, receiving adulation and criticism in his homeland, I was reading the book on at least three levels 1 paying attention to the protagonist s actions and reactions, 2 reviewing what I know of American history and culture from 1930 1951 th [...]

    • Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Mexico, Leo Trotsky, Committee on Unamerican Activities The Lacuna is a wealth of information on these topics But it s outstanding feature is it s narrator, Harrison Shepherd Mexican American, cook, sometime secretary, novelist and gay Kingsolver s wonderful telling of his tale and those whose lives cross his path is insightful, humorous and full of pathos I was, by turn, amused then saddened by his story Harrison may have been a fictional character but many lives were [...]

    • This is my first and so far, only book by Barbara Kingsolver She writes beautifully, and I loved this strange story of a fictional gay man caught up in the real life struggles of Frieda Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky also the scathing indictment of McCarthyism in the final part The story feels strangely incomplete, yet the final, unexpected twist was exquisite.I am determined to read of this author s books.

    • This book had some amazing segments I listened on audio and am going to have to buy a hard copy just for some of the quotes and observations But even though it was wonderfully read by the author, it went on too long I thought it would never end Therefore it s hard for me to recommend it.

    • While I thoroughly enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible I have huge problems with this book Even though the book is fiction there are historical facts that have been included and it is indeed terrible when she makes so many mistakes On page 56, she talks about the one fifth booty part that Cortes was to send to the Extremely Catholic Majesty the Queen When this Queen, Isabel La Catolica, died in 1504, Cortes did not arrive in Mexico before 1519 and he wrote to and shared the booty with Carlos V The Empe [...]

    • I saw a review of this book on television that made me buy it the next day I d not read Kingsolver before, but the first part of the story took place in Mexico, in the homes of Frida Khalo, Diego Rivera and Trotsky and I ve been to those houses several times and was looking forward to reading about the people who had lived in them I enjoyed the first half of the book very much, but the second half after so much color and action fell flat Most of the story unfolded as rather obvious conversation [...]

    • Very difficult book to get into Barbara Kingsolver is an excellent and articulate writer, but there was just too much information and I found it all so boring at first I had a hard time imagining this fictional character having a place in these actual historical events It was a bit like Forrest Gump Around 75% into the book it really picked up and came together The ending was poignant and I really liked how all that information came together The historical accuracy was impressive and quite inter [...]

    • I just finished this book and I m almost speechless with emotion and awe Review will be coming soon, but for now, I just want to shout from the rooftops EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK

    • The Lacuna has an interesting title signifying a gap, something missing, something you don t know a theme that runs through the novel Living in both the United States and Mexico as a child, Harrison Shepherd has been neglected by his parents and doesn t truly feel at home in either country He learned to cook and bake by helping a servant in his residence in Mexico It was a twist of fate that he was viewing the murals of Diego Rivera on a day when the artist needed another boy to help mix plaster [...]

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