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The Lacuna

A Novel
Kingsolver, Barbara (Book - 2009 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Lacuna
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Item Details

"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.
Authors: Kingsolver, Barbara
Statement of Responsibility: Barbara Kingsolver
Title: The lacuna
a novel
Publisher: New York : Harper, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: x, 507 p. ; 24 cm.
Summary: "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.
Subject Headings: Americans Mexico Fiction Identity (Psychology) Fiction Subversive activities Fiction Mexico History 1910-1946 Fiction North Carolina History 20th century Fiction
Genre/Form: Biographical fiction
Historical fiction
Epistolary fiction
Topical Term: Americans
Identity (Psychology)
Subversive activities
LCCN: 2009033697
ISBN: 9780060852573
0060852577
Branch Call Number: FIC K
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From the critics


Library Staff

February 27, 2012


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I Had to persevere with this book, enjoying the exotic settings and BK's typically beautiful writing, but finding the first part of the story didn't completely draw me in. However I'm so glad I continued! I learnt so much about Mexico, Frieda Kahlo, Trotsky and American history in the first half of the twentieth century; but mostly grew to love Harrison Shepherd and Violet Brown. I was deeply impacted by the tragedy of it. How Human freedom and integrity and beauty can be so easily destroyed by the machinery of state.

May 24, 2013
  • writermala rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The reader joins Kingsolver's protagonist, Harrison Shepherd in an epic journey from the Mexico of his childhood to war torn and post-war America. Through the eyes of Shepherd, the author draws a beautiful picture of everything he sees and reads about. The book is fraught with interesting historical tidbits and surprising tales of paranoia in the U.S.

May 07, 2013
  • tegan rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I had been under the impression that this book was going to focus on Diego and Frieda, and while they are in the book, they are not really the focus. The focus is Harrison and his many lost and re-found diaries.

I didn't finish this book. It just became too long.

If you are into historical fiction and don't mind that the book does not focus on the 2 artists, you would probably like it. But otherwise, I would select another book for your next read.

Dec 05, 2012
  • erinsnest rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Thurs Nov 22 2012...given to me by a friend, with a mediocre rating.....gonna give it a go.....Monday Nov 26, page 170, I think I am enjoying this?!........Sunday Dec 2, 2012, finished it this morning, and I must say I enjoyed it a lot. The ending was terrific! Dec 5, 2012, just listened to a bit about the black list in Hollywood on CBC this morning, funny how I read about something I've never heard about and the next thing you know, it's popping up all over the place! I also want to add that the copy of this book that I read, (kind of a large trade paperback type) was made even more enjoyable by the texture and feel of it. Glad that it wasn't an e-book!

Aug 15, 2012
  • katbehrend rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I did really enjoy this book. B.K. has a serious way with words, and a talent for painting vivid settings and breathing life into exquisitely believable, quirky characters. I loved the exploration of Kahlo, Rivera, and Trotsky, the interpersonal relationships among characters, and the distinct sociopolitical and cultural landscapes traversed in the novel. It was a little hard in the middle of the book, as the setting dropped off and the politics picked up, and also less engaging toward the end, but the final pages were incredible. I recommend this one!!

Aug 01, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

2010 Orange Prize. This novel is set in the 1920s to 1950s period in Mexico and the U.S. Friend of Trotsky, Rivera, Khalo. HUAC. The politics of this novel are OK but typically American liberal. Somehow the writing itself never succeeded in coming alive for me.

Jul 31, 2012
  • ReallyFriendly rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Quite simply the best book I've read so far this year. Unlike the bitterly disappointing 1Q84, this book is rightly sombre and deep without the tiresome pretentious mumbo jumbo that Murakami foists on us. The idea of using an emotionally distant narrator is a clever device, letting readers imprint their own emotions to the tale without making us feel like we are dragged along. As already mentioned, the writing is succulent and beautiful, and is one of the best feats of an authentic voice that I'd ever read. Those seeking a single unifying theme would be buggered, as the theme itself is the gap that refuses to be filled. This book is not necessarily for everyone, but for those who enjoy it, they will enjoy it tremendously.

May 30, 2012
  • chorister rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This novel takes the main character from boyhood on a remote Mexican island with his Mexican mother to Washington D.C. where he meets his father, back to Mexico where he engages with famous artists and other historical figures. It's a very ambitious 500 page novel, and I had to put it aside for a later time to finish. I am intrigued to see what happens to Shepherd as he faces danger and intrigue and matures to fulfill his passion for writing. There is always, in this story, something missing - a void - a lacuna.

Feb 08, 2012
  • mgrenzeback rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A fabulous book. I kept putting it off, but once I got five pages in I was hooked. The voices of the two main characters are perfect, and distinctive. A beautifully written portrayal of some very interesting and difficult times in our history. A great book club book, because there is a lot to talk about here!

Sep 08, 2011
  • jennynboys rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Like some of the other readers here, it took me some time to become engaged with this book. In the end, I couldn't put it down.

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Barbara Kingsolver Talks about characters in The Lacuna

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