Friday, November 13, 2009

A Vivid Journey Through the Turbulent Mexico and America of the 30s and 40s--Barbara Kingsolver's "The Lacuna"

I love Barbara Kingsolver, and just about everything she's ever written. So when I heard she had a new novel coming out this fall, I was a bit anxious. I've had a bad run of favorite authors turning out disappointing novels recently, so I didn't want my expectations to get too high, only to be dashed by a poor showing.

Oh Barbara, why did I ever doubt you! This novel is fantastic. It has all of the rich language you've come to expect from Kingsolver, with a riveting story to match.

Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel "The Lacuna" is the story of Harrison Shepherd, a young man with a split identity--he's half Mexican and half American and feels like he doesn't truly fit in either country. After being born in America, Shepherd's mother takes him to Mexico, where he spends much of his childhood, before going back to America to finish school, then shortly going back to Mexico, where he starts working for Diego Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo. Meeting the Rivera's sets Shepherd's life on a course from which he will be unable to escape, despite his eventual fame and fortune.

"The Lacuna" is a novel so sweeping, it's difficult to describe. Kingsolver has structured the novel as a series of journals written by Shepherd over the course of his life and edited by his secretary Violet Brown. Although this seems like a difficult structure to work with, Kingsolver uses it to really get inside of Shepherd's head and to use him as a unique type of first person narrator. His perspective on Mexico in the 1930s and America in the 1940s and 50s is unique, and unlike anything I've read before. The story is thoroughly engaging and Kingsolver's beautiful language takes this novel to a whole other level.

I really enjoyed this novel. If you are a fan of Kingsolver's previous novels, I would recommend you pick up this one, because it is not one to be missed!

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Program for providing me with a review copy of this book.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't realize she had a new book. This sounds very interesting! I enjoyed her other book, the Poisonwood Bible.

    Thanks for dropping by my food blog. I wonder why I was in your feed. I think I may have dropped by here before.

    I also have book blog. Come visit...