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The Lacuna
BARBARA KINGSOLVER

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
397 reviews (2009) (528p)
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

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Book Description

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 in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.

Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.


Other Award Winning Books by Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
1167 reviews (2012) (448p) (Amazon Top100) (Hudson Fiction) (NYT100)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
543 reviews (2007) (384p) (ALA Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
2462 reviews (1998) (672p) (PP) (PF) (NYTimes)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
190 reviews (1993) (352p) (LATimes)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Barbara Kingsolver Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 4  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 3  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 The Poisonwood Bible ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 2 The Poisonwood Bible · The Lacuna ·  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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