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The Lacuna (P.S.)
The Lacuna - P.S.
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities. Born in the United States, reared...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780060852580
ISBN-10: 0060852585
Publication Date: 9/1/2010
Pages: 544
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 97 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Very very disappointed in reading this book. I have absolutely loved Barbara Kingsolver, especially her earlier books. Found this very boring to read. Persevered through half the book and then just gave up. Does not hold your interest at all and the way it is written as a diary does not do it for me.

Would give this one a pass
bup avatar reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Sometimes I think Kingsolver is too political, or at least strongly socially opinionated, and doesn't give the opposite point of view enough respect. I happen to agree with her, more or less, politically, but I have felt that some of her characters were straw men. This book seems to address all my feelings head-on.

The red scare of 1950 and thereabouts is real. Except for her protagonist, the characters are real. Some of the included newspaper articles, which sound like they were written to illustrate how bad and mustache-twirly the reactionaries were, are real. I looked them up.

And the way the media engaged in character assassination against her protagonist - there are also real examples of that. For instance, Stalin's people attempted to assassinate Leon Trotsky in May of 1940, and the world newspapers decided Trostky had plotted the attack on himself, only because of the newspapers' sloppy reporting jobs contradicting each other. I've also known of similar lazy reporting that reinforced lies - my wife was part of a teachers' strike at Chicago City Colleges in 2004, when the newspapers dutifully reported the administration's party line that 80% of classes were still going on - as fact. I walked through Harold Washington's building mid-day and saw for myself that no classes whatsoever were going on - but that was too much for a reporter to do.

So yes, I know that can happen too. And it happens in the book. Twisting of facts, both innocently and not innocently, become incontrovertible and undeniable. So, Ms. Kingsolver, you win this round. As paper-thin as the villains seem to be, they are based on real life examples.

It's also a good study of the point in American history when we turned from a nation of questioners to a nation where questioning made people suspect you were "un-American."

Also, I love the title - a Lacuna, apparently, refers to a missing piece that is - what? - almost drawn or seen by the negative space around it. It's not seen at all itself. That was neat - there's a missing piece of the protagonist's life for us, and a different missing piece of the protagonist's life for the next main character, and I got to the end of the book and realized our hero's very face was a lacuna - we never get a physical description of it, and throughout the book he eschews photographs. Lots of patterns in the book, is what I'm saying. I'm sure there are plenty I missed.

Very good book.
reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This was my first foray into Kingsolver's writing. Friends raved about the Poisonwood Bible, so we selected this for our fairly new book club. Only 3 of 7 members persevered through it. The leading chapters, in which Harrison Shephard is a young boy, seem endless. His youth in the household of Kahlo and Rivera, and later Trotsky, was interesting, but one starts to grasp that his role is that of (dull) observer to troubled times. Conversations in cars, by streams, on trips, contain lovely insights into the nature of art, but they just go on and on and on. She writes good dialogue and provides fascinating historical glimpses into the mindset of the McCarthy era, but a novel should be more than a walk down the lanes of yesteryear. Yawn. If this was edited down by 1/3, maybe I would recommend it.
pjp avatar reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Barbara Kingsolver has written possibly the most thought provoking novels I have read. I purchased this book when it first came out and to this day I find myself contemplating the meaning of The Lacuna, "the void between the truth and public perception." A wonderful read that I highly recommend.
tjnavrn avatar reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on
Helpful Score: 3
I'll admit I'm not a huge Kingsolver fan. I found "The Poisonwood Bible" a painful work to trudge through. However I decided to give her another try because I found the topic of this book sounded interesting. I'm glad I did. It beautifully descriptive, the characters were well developed and the plot intriguing. Despite it being a work of fiction, I found out about a period of history that was interesting and heartbreaking in the same breath. I could relate to Harrison's solitary existence and desire to live his life in peace. Kingsolver did a good job of connecting the relationships and how others - despite being only bit players - can greatly influence our lives. I would
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reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 628 more book reviews
I am generally a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver's novels, particularly her earlier ones, but this one left me questioning my loyalty to her. Defihitely not a favorite of hers.
onstagegirl avatar reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 76 more book reviews
It took a hundred pages until I really got into this story. I almost stopped reading, but glad I continued on. The story spans over several decades 1930's till late 1950's. Author weaves his life with controversial topics of the times which to me parallels the turmoil we currently are experiencing. The main character is a gay man who attempts to live a reclusive yet productive life. As a young man he has employers such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Lev Trotsky, which in the 1950's when he is only 30 labels him as a communist. The newspapers twist facts and make up fiction (very similar to today's media), which ultimately is the demise of Harrison Sheppard.
reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 11 more book reviews
I liked this book very much. Kingsolver is a terrific writer whose characters always seem very real to me. The xenophobia of the '50's feels all too true with obvious parallels to today's political climate.
reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 10 more book reviews
My book club friends could not hang with the pace of this story. Admittedly, it started slow, with the point unclear and I was eager to get beyond Trotsky. Eventually found myself progressing slowly because I was not eager for the story to end. The main character grew to be someone I liked spending time with. This was one deep read. I read chapters in the evening, and listened on CD in my car. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Lacuna (P.S.) on + 3 more book reviews
Somewhat of a departure from everything else that I've read by this wonderful author, but still with her great wit. She incorporated many of her causes and concerns into the story; politics, humanity, history, nature, art, the news media,privacy,food. Occasionally it felt a little preachy, but I don't mind being preached to by Barbara Kingsolver.

Book Wiki

Harrison Shepherd (Primary Character)
Violet Brown (Major Character)
Frida Kahlo (Major Character)
Diego Rivera (Average Character)
Lev (Leon) Trotsky (Average Character)
Awards and Honors