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The Lacuna
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The Orange Prize-winning novel from the bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible.

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in eastern Kentucky. Her books include poetry, non-fiction and award-winning fiction, and in 1999 she was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for The Poisonwood Bible. She lives with her husband and daughter in southern Arizona and in the mountains of southern Appalachia.

Reviews

Diego Rivera's mural in Mexico's Palacio Nationale was only half complete the day young Harrison Shepherd stood transfixed before it, but he would be forever captive to the extraordinary power of the imagination. A solitary child, a devourer of books, left to his own devices by a mother chasing unattainable men and a father pencil pushing for the government back in the States, Harrison observes and he writes. When a quirk of fate lands him in the home of Communist sympathizers Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Rivera's wife, Harrison becomes enmeshed in the turbulent history that will inform his life and work. Through the distinctive voices of Harrison and his insightful amanuensis, Violet Brown, Kingsolver paints a verbal panorama spanning three decades and two countries. World War I veterans protesting for benefits denied, the unleashing of the atomic bomb, the McCarthy hearings, censorship of the arts, and abuse by the press corps lend credence to the sentiment that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Verdict As in The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver perfects the use of multiple points of view, even reprinting actual newspaper articles to blur the line between fact and fiction. This is her most ambitious, timely, and powerful novel yet. Well worth the wait.-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Kingsolver's ambitious new novel, her first in nine years (after the The Poisonwood Bible), focuses on Harrison William Shepherd, the product of a divorced American father and a Mexican mother. After getting kicked out of his American military academy, Harrison spends his formative years in Mexico in the 1930s in the household of Diego Rivera; his wife, Frida Kahlo; and their houseguest, Leon Trotsky, who is hiding from Soviet assassins. After Trotsky is assassinated, Harrison returns to the U.S., settling down in Asheville, N.C., where he becomes an author of historical potboilers (e.g., Vassals of Majesty) and is later investigated as a possible subversive. Narrated in the form of letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings, the novel takes a while to get going, but once it does, it achieves a rare dramatic power that reaches its emotional peak when Harrison wittily and eloquently defends himself before the House Un-American Activities Committee (on the panel is a young Dick Nixon). "Employed by the American imagination," is how one character describes Harrison, a term that could apply equally to Kingsolver as she masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"Compelling.Kingsolver's descriptions of life in Mexico City burst with sensory detail-thick sweet breads, vividly painted walls, the lovely white feet of an unattainable love." -- The New Yorker
"Masterful.a reader receives the great gift of entering not one but several worlds.The final pages haunt me still." -- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Rich.impassioned.engrossing.Politics and art dominate the novel, and their overt, unapologetic connection is refreshing." -- Chicago Tribune
Rich impassioned engrossing Politics and art dominate the novel, and their overt, unapologetic connection is refreshing. --Chicago Tribune
Shepherd s story in Kingsolver s accomplished literary hands is so seductive, the prose so elegant, the architecture of the novel so imaginative, it becomes hard to peel away from the book --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The novel achieves a rare dramatic power...Kingsolver masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A sweeping mural of sensory delights and stimulating ideas about art, government, identity and history Readers will feel the sting of connection between then and now. --Seattle Times
A sweeping narrative of utopian dreams and political reality A stirring novel intimate and pitch-perfect. --San Diego Union-Tribune
A lavishly gifted writer... Kingsolver [has a] wonderful ear for the quirks of human repartee. The Lacuna is richly spiked with period language... This book grabs at the heartstrings... --Los Angeles Times
Compelling Kingsolver s descriptions of life in Mexico City burst with sensory detail thick sweet breads, vividly painted walls, the lovely white feet of an unattainable love. --The New Yorker
Breathtaking...dazzling...The Lacuna can be enjoyed sheerly for the music of its passages on nature, archaeology, food and friendship; or for its portraits of real and invented people...But the fuller value...lies in its call to conscience and connection. --New York Times Book Review
[Kingsolver] stirs the real with the imagined to produce a breathtakingly ambitious book, bold and rich hopeful, political and artistic. The Lacuna fills a lacuna with powerfully imagined social history--Kansas City Star
Kingsolver deftly combines real history and the life of the fictional protagonist A sweeping tale. --Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Masterful a reader receives the great gift of entering not one but several worlds The final pages haunt me still. --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
The most mature and ambitious [novel] she s written An absorbing portrayal of American life A rich novel [with] a large, colorful canvas A tender story about a thoughtful man. --Washington Post
[Kingsolver s] playful pastiche brings to vivid life the culture wars of an earlier era... --Vogue
...True and riveting...Barbara Kingsolver has invented a wondrous filling here, sweeter and thicker than pan dulce, spicy as the hottest Mexican chiles, paranoid as the American government hunting Communists --Philadelphia Inquirer
[Kingsolver] hasn t lost her touch...she delivers her signature blend of exotic locale, political backdrop and immediately engaging story line...teems with dark beauty. --People
A work that is often close to magic.... Much research underlies this complex weaving...but the work is lofted by lyric prose. --Denver Post
"A work that is often close to magic.... Much research underlies this complex weaving...but the work is lofted by lyric prose."--Denver Post
"[Kingsolver] stirs the real with the imagined to produce a breathtakingly ambitious book, bold and rich...hopeful, political and artistic. The Lacuna fills a lacuna with powerfully imagined social history--Kansas City Star
"Rich...impassioned...engrossing...Politics and art dominate the novel, and their overt, unapologetic connection is refreshing."--Chicago Tribune
"Compelling...Kingsolver's descriptions of life in Mexico City burst with sensory detail--thick sweet breads, vividly painted walls, the lovely white feet of an unattainable love."--The New Yorker
"The most mature and ambitious [novel] she's written...An absorbing portrayal of American life...A rich novel [with] a large, colorful canvas...A tender story about a thoughtful man."--Washington Post
"A sweeping mural of sensory delights and stimulating ideas about art, government, identity and history...Readers will feel the sting of connection between then and now."--Seattle Times
"Masterful...a reader receives the great gift of entering not one but several worlds...The final pages haunt me still."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"A sweeping narrative of utopian dreams and political reality...A stirring novel...intimate and pitch-perfect."--San Diego Union-Tribune
"A lavishly gifted writer... Kingsolver [has a] wonderful ear for the quirks of human repartee. The Lacuna is richly spiked with period language... This book grabs at the heartstrings..."--Los Angeles Times
."..True and riveting...Barbara Kingsolver has invented a wondrous filling here, sweeter and thicker than pan dulce, spicy as the hottest Mexican chiles, paranoid as the American government hunting Communists "--Philadelphia Inquirer
"Shepherd's story in Kingsolver's accomplished literary hands is so seductive, the prose so elegant, the architecture of the novel so imaginative, it becomes hard to peel away from the book"--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Breathtaking...dazzling...The Lacuna can be enjoyed sheerly for the music of its passages on nature, archaeology, food and friendship; or for its portraits of real and invented people...But the fuller value...lies in its call to conscience and connection."--New York Times Book Review
"[Kingsolver's] playful pastiche brings to vivid life the culture wars of an earlier era..."--Vogue
"Kingsolver deftly combines real history and the life of the fictional protagonist...A sweeping tale."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"The novel achieves a rare dramatic power...Kingsolver masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Kingsolver] hasn't lost her touch...she delivers her signature blend of exotic locale, political backdrop and immediately engaging story line...teems with dark beauty."--People

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