The Lacuna
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The Lacuna

Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna is the heartbreaking story of a man torn beween the warm heart of Mexico and the cold embrace of 1950s McCarthyite America. Born in the U.S. and reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salome. Making himself useful in the household of the famed Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, he is an inadvertent witness to their revolutionary talk. Years later, Shepherd has become an international star - a novelist. His fame brings the unwanted attentions of the American authorities and Shepherd’s attempts at anonymity are futile as he is drawn into a conflict of historic proportions. A gripping story of identity, loyalty and the devastating power of accusations to destroy innocent people. The Lacuna is as deep and rich as the New World.

Review

Barbara Kingsolver, acclaimed author of The Poisonwood Bible, returns to fiction after nine years with her much anticipated historical novel, The Lacuna: one man’s journey from the warm heart of Frida Kahlo’s Mexico to the cold embrace of Joseph McCarthy’s America.

In 1930s Mexico, young Harrison Shepherd, born in the US and brought up in a series of households in Mexico, finds work helping famed revolutionary muralist Diego Rivera. Making himself useful in the household of Rivera, wife Frida Kahlo and exiled Bolshevik leader Leo Trotsky, Shepherd is inspired and throws in his lot with art and revolution. Through a series of dramatic events, he finds himself back in the US during World War II. In Carolina, he remakes himself in America’s hopeful image. But as political winds push him between north and south, he becomes a danger to the famous Mexican household that had taken him in, as he is sought out by authorities as a double agent. Kingsolver is a writer of great integrity who puts into practice her social beliefs. She continues to inspire with this exceptional novel.

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