The LACUNA

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The LACUNA

by Barbara Kingsolver

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd | October 26, 2009 | Hardcover

The LACUNA is rated 3 out of 5 by 4.

Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is mostly a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salomé. From a coastal island jungle to the unpaved neighborhoods of 1930s Mexico City, through a disastrous stint at a military school in Virginia and back again, his fortunes never steady as Salomé finds her rich men-friends always on the losing side of the Mexican Revolution. Sometimes she gives her son cigarettes instead of supper.

He aims for invisibility, observing his world and recording everything with a peculiar selfless irony in his notebooks. Life is whatever he learns from servants putting 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. Making himself useful in the household of Rivera, his wife Frida Kahlo and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, young Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, and the howling gossip and reportage that dictate public opinion.

A violent upheaval sends him north to a nation newly caught up in the internationalist good will of World War II. In the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina, he remakes himself in America’s hopeful image. Under the watch of his peerless stenographer, Violet Brown, he finds an extraordinary use for his talents of observation. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

This is a gripping story of identity, connection with our past, and the power of words to create or devastate, unfolding at a moment when the entire world seemed bent on reinventing itself at any cost.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 507 pages, 9.4 × 6.5 × 1.5 in

Published: October 26, 2009

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1554684757

ISBN - 13: 9781554684755

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fictional Memoir This is the story of fictional Harrison William Shepherd, son of a Mexican mother and an American father. During his childhood and youth he is influenced by both cultures. Not quite Mexican ( he is blond and very fair) and not quite American (he is not familiar with their culture and slang). As a youg boy he begins keeping a journal of daily events and conversations. At fifteen he finds himself in the household of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. While living and working there he mets and spends much time with Soviet dissident Lev Trotsky. For the first 150 pages of this book I just didn't get it. The story seemed to be going nowhere and I didn't see any possibility of that changing. I did keep plugging along figuring that the selection committee for the Orange Prize knew something that I didn't. It finally started making sense somewhere around page 400. Harrison is a young man who is influenced by the great men and women surrounding him. He does make his own choices, but his life is subject to the decisions and actions of others. When he moves to America the same thing happens. He settles in his career as an author and that is destroyed by scared men on a witch hunt. That part I found insightful. You can do everything right and yet others can mis-construe everything. The use of American slang in this book was very amusing. I had no idea what most of it meant and neither did Harrison until it was explained to him. His mother used to grab onto any new slang and liberally sprinkle it in her conversations. Even though this book didn't really work for me, I loved learning more about Mexican history and about the American attempts to purge supposed communists from the country in the era of J. Edgar Hoover. It provides lots of material for a book club discussion.
Date published: 2010-06-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read After waiting so long for a new novel by this author, it caught me by surprise when it came out. Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint in this story. It made me want to learn more about artist Frida Kahlo (who is a character)and it is the second book I've read recently that talks about the crazy fear of communism in America after WWI. It was not Kingsolver's best but she still has an almost poetic way of describing things that not many others can't touch.
Date published: 2010-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I have always liked Kingsolver's work and this is no exception. It is now -51 with the windchill in Alberta. Kingsolver writes on page 145 "The cold spell on us is deep, but however bitter the day might appear,winter will pass." How comforting. But this is not what the book is about. There are many other themes in this book. You will have to read it yourself to capture them all. The book explores a very sorry time in the history of the United States and the fear of Communism.The main character Harrison Shepherd becomes a victim of this fear. In a complicated turn of events from spending his youth in Mexico and becoming engrossed in their culture to becoming a writer about Mexico in the United States. The writing is unique in Harrison expressing his thoughts and feelings and then his stenographer giving her thoughts..the end sums up the essence of the book Page 497 "But when a man's words are taken from him and poisoned,it's the same as poisoning the man."
Date published: 2009-12-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hmmmm ..... Barbara Kingsolver has always been one of my favourite authors, however, I couldn't read this book as I could not get into it. I tried more than once and had to put it down and never read it. Very disappointing as I usually read an entire book no matter what.
Date published: 2009-11-26

– More About This Product –

The LACUNA

The LACUNA

by Barbara Kingsolver

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 507 pages, 9.4 × 6.5 × 1.5 in

Published: October 26, 2009

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1554684757

ISBN - 13: 9781554684755

From the Publisher

Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is mostly a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salomé. From a coastal island jungle to the unpaved neighborhoods of 1930s Mexico City, through a disastrous stint at a military school in Virginia and back again, his fortunes never steady as Salomé finds her rich men-friends always on the losing side of the Mexican Revolution. Sometimes she gives her son cigarettes instead of supper.

He aims for invisibility, observing his world and recording everything with a peculiar selfless irony in his notebooks. Life is whatever he learns from servants putting 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. Making himself useful in the household of Rivera, his wife Frida Kahlo and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, young Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, and the howling gossip and reportage that dictate public opinion.

A violent upheaval sends him north to a nation newly caught up in the internationalist good will of World War II. In the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina, he remakes himself in America’s hopeful image. Under the watch of his peerless stenographer, Violet Brown, he finds an extraordinary use for his talents of observation. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

This is a gripping story of identity, connection with our past, and the power of words to create or devastate, unfolding at a moment when the entire world seemed bent on reinventing itself at any cost.

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born on April 8, 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland and grew up in Eastern Kentucky. As a child, Kingsolver used to beg her mother to tell her bedtime stories. She soon started to write stories and essays of her own, and at the age of nine, she began to keep a journal. After graduating with a degree in biology form De Pauw University in Indiana in 1977, Kingsolver pursued graduate studies in biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She earned her Master of Science degree in the early 1980s. A position as a science writer for the University of Arizona soon led Kingsolver into feature writing for journals and newspapers. Her articles have appeared in a number of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Smithsonian magazines. In 1985, she married a chemist, becoming pregnant the following year. During her pregnancy, Kingsolver suffered from insomnia. To ease her boredom when she couldn't sleep, she began writing fiction Barbara Kingsolver's first fiction novel, The Bean Trees, published in 1988, is about a young woman who leaves rural Kentucky and finds herself living in urban Tucson. Since then, Kingsolver has written other novels, including Holding the Line, Homeland, and Pigs in Heaven. In 1995, after the publication of her essay collection High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never, Kingsolver was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, De Pauw University. Barbara's new nonfiction book, "Animal, V
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