The Lacuna (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Barbara Kingsolver’s first novel in nine years is an engrossing story of revolution, art, searching for one’s place, all wrapped up in the atmosphere of 1930s Mexico topped with a tasty dollop of political machinations. Harrison William Shepherd spends his formative years in the household of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It’s there that he meets Leon Trotsky, becoming enmeshed in an unlikely group of bodyguards and politicos and seduced by this exotic and dangerous life. The story is told through narrative, letters, journal entries and articles as we follow Shepherd from Mexico back to the states, looking and yearning for a place to belong. This quiet man’s story is as colorful, textured and intriguing as a Kahlo painting.
A Hudson Best Book of 2009

— Sydne, Atlanta

November 2009 Indie Next List

“Moving from a setting in Mexico (in the company of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Trotsky) to the 1950s America of Red Scares and McCarthyism, The Lacuna tells the very personal and human story of young novelist Harrison Shepherd. Kingsolver does a masterful job creating a story with both scope and intimacy while also raising potent questions about freedom of expression and belief. Bravo!”
— Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

December 2010 Indie Next List

“Kingsolver's first novel in nine years has a compelling, provocative storyline that takes place between Mexico City and the United States in the period from the 1930s to the 1950s. A young Mexican-American man finds himself caught up in the creative and political household of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. He mixes plaster for the muralist, types letters for Leon Trotsky, and befriends Frida. The Lacuna is a solid example of Kingsolver's expertise in combining politics and fiction. The philosophy of Communism and the innate need for freedom of expression raise their demanding fists in this young man's story, and they won't let the reader go.”
— Dianne Patrick, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI


In this powerfully imagined, provocative novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is the poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as well as an unforgettable portrait of the artist--and of art itself.

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She received the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work, and in 2010 won Britain's Orange Prize for The Lacuna. Before she made her living as a writer, Kingsolver earned degrees in biology and worked as a scientist. She now lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062206473
ISBN-10: 0062206478
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2013
Pages: 507
Language: English
Series: Modern Classics