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The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverWhat do you get if you cross a young man, a Russian political exile, a couple of Mexican artists and a United States in the grip of paranoia? Well if you’re lucky you might just get Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna.

I have never read any of her books up until now, and I’d been meaning to get around to reading The Poisonwood Bible but this one arrived in my to be read pile first. Many reviewers have judged it to be not really up there with Poisonwood so how did I get on with it myself?

Read on for a full review…

-- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver a Review by Des Greene --

The Lacuna charts the life of Harrison Shepherd and is largely relayed to the reader in the form of entries from a series of diaries which the writer never intended to be published. This not only allows the author to deliver a candid and unadulterated account of the protagonist’s encounters and relationships, it also gives the book the feel of a series of vivid and beautiful vignettes of his life, almost like an old photograph album.

As a young man Harrison leads a disjointed life travelling in tow to his mother who always seems to be on the search for a rich man to support them. They end up living in Mexico, and this starts a winding and varied trail encompassing amongst other things, a boarding school back in the US, a young working life in the service of famous Mexican artists and later as part of the household staff of the exiled Leon Trotsky. Did I mention it was varied!

It is later as an author and art courier back in the USA once more that his past life and the chilling post war paranoia of McCarthyism catch up with him and set the novel up for a dramatic finale.

This book combines so many great elements; interesting, educating, beautifully written and emotionally affecting, it really has got me looking forward to reading more of her work. It ticked two of my most major criteria for judging an excellent novel, I wished it didn’t have to end and I wished even more that I could have written it myself!

Already read The Lacuna? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

Novel Suggestions only provides fiction book reviews of books that we personally recommend. We don’t spend our valuable time writing reviews of books which we feel would be a waste of your valuable time!

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