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145 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Well Lived, November 5, 2009
This review is from: The Lacuna: A Novel (Hardcover)
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It is quite possible that "The Lacuna", Barbara Kingsolver's newest novel, surpasses her masterpiece "The Poisonwood Bible" and that is no small feat. Or perhaps surpass isn't the correct word for an author of Kingsolver's talent who can make the unlikeliest of stories and characters come to life. "The Lacuna" manages to weave together some of the early twentieth century's most pivotal events without demeaning them, offering fresh insight into some of the darkest moments of American history through the eyes of a genuine and likeable misfit.

"The Lacuna" is the memoir-of-sorts of Harrison Wiliam Shepherd, an author caught between two very different worlds. As a young boy, his Mexican mother drags him back to her native country as she pursues any wealthy man who is willing to take her on as a mistress. Years later, he is sent to live with his father, a man he does not even know, before returning to Mexico where he finds himself in the employ of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. His association with these two famous artists brings him in contact with Trotsky, on exile from Stalinist Russia, who continues Shepherd's odd education in the school of life experiences. When events turn sour in Mexico, Shepherd returns to the United States, fulfilling his dream of becoming a beloved author, only to have to confront his past and the words he has never said during the Red Scare of the 1950s. His story is told in his own words, his diary entries and letters, some too private to lay bare, and by the words of his secretary who takes it upon herself to compile his life's narrative.

The sheer amount of history that Kingsolver is able to plausibly mix into Shepherd's story is incredible, and all of it believable. "The Lacuna" is a beautiful story, one man's search to find a place he can call home and to be accepted and loved for the person that he is. Kingsolver's prose sparkles with the poetry of her descriptions and her uncanny ability to craft intricate narratives that unspool effortlessly in the reader's imagination. "The Lacuna" is unforgettable. Readers will feel that they have lived alongside Shepherd and that he also lived, not only on paper or through words.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2010 12:28:09 PM PDT
I don't think 'Lacuna' will surpass 'The Poisonwood Bible'. That was a tour de force. joyzcho
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