The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverIn 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 Americas 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.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Artists and Idols
Barbara Kingsolver, one of our novelistas mas estimadas, citizen both of a farm in southern Appalachia and of the world, seduces us once again into a tale well told, a tale of passion and intrigue, of politics and despair, of conspiracy and love. Much of her latest novel, The Lacuna, is set in Mexico, during the still turbulent decades that followed the Mexican Revolution. The boy, Harrison, finds companionship both working in the kitchen and reading the adventure novels of writers like Victor Hugo, Jules Verne, and Alexander Dumas. Harrison finds solace in the sea "in deep water you can soar" and in the cave that "lay under the water," sometimes "too far below the surface to find. But, like all heroes, the boy must leave his little island and move into more complicated experiences. His mother takes him to Mexico City where her lover has provided her with a casa chica above a bakery shop. After a short interlude in Washington, D.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. - A skinny young boy holds his breath and dives into the mouth of an underwater cave — a lacuna — swimming toward pale blue light as his lungs scream for oxygen. He emerges, gasping, in a ghostly cenote, a sinkhole in the Mexican jungle fringed with broken coral, wedged with human bones: a place of sacrifice and buried remembrance.
Most people in other places tend to view these as inseparable. Mexico, for example, has historically celebrated its political artists as national heroes, but here that combination can make people nervous, to put it mildly. We seem to have an aversion to national self-criticism in general. We began as a nation of rabble-rousers, bent on change. But now, patriotism is often severely defined as accepting our country to be a perfect finished product. Those times seem to have put a stamp on our national psyche that has never completely washed off. In the autumn of , after the September 11 attacks, I witnessed a ferocious backlash against people who raised questions about how we should respond.