Friday, 19 February 2010

Barbara Kingsolver - The Lacuna

I have to confess that I have not read The Poisonwood Bible despite it being a reading group classic. I certainly shall now. This is a beautifully written novel. It is richly textured and multi-layered. I was immersed in the characters, and learnt so much about Mexico, America after WW1, during the Mccarthy era and quite a bit about art, communism, and cooking!

This book follows the life of Harrison Shepherd, born in the US but up rooted to mexico as a boy by his irresponsible(?) fly by night mother, who you just can't help liking. Whilst in Mexico he meets Diegi Rivera and hhis wife Frida Kahlo, becoming their cook, then they offer a haven for Lev trotsky and life becomes dangerous and interesting. He returns to America after the assassination and becomes a famous writer, but is then caught up in the McCarthy witch hunts.

The plot is so complex this does not do it justice. It jumps from scene to scene like a rich tapestry interspersed with the eponymous lacunae of the title. A brilliant novel, should win a prize or several and an excellent reading group choice!

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