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A Lacuna

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  39,421 ratings  ·  6,246 reviews
Neste romance profundamente provocativo, Barbara Kingsolver nos leva a uma jornada épica do México de Frida Kahlo e Diego Rivera à América de Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt e J. Edgar Hoover. A lacuna é a comovente história de um homem dividido entre duas nações, além de um retrato inesquecível do artista - e da arte em si.
Paperback, 443 pages
Published 2011 by Verus (first published November 3rd 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa
I hated this book. I couldn't even finish it. I started it and had so much trouble reading it that I put it down and didn't even want to pick it back up. Curious, I went to Goodreads to see what other people had said about it. Surprisingly, a lot of people loved it. A couple of people couldn't finish it, but the majority gave it good reviews. So I thought I'd give it another try. Ugh. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out its appeal!!

I just Googled it and found a NPR review that made me feel
...more
Sath
The story is told as the collected journals of Harrison Shepherd, put together after his death by his secretary and friend Violet Brown. Beginning with his childhood, (just before WorldWar2), as his mexican mother leaves his american father and takes him with her back to mexico. Harrison writes his journals because he can't help but write, like other people cannot help breathing, he is destined to become an author one day.
Harrison's childhood is surreally beautiful, the problems of his chain-smo
...more
Alex
Placed in context with Kingsolver's other books this is essentially worthless. She turns Freida Kahlo into the most magical pixie dream girl ever and gives us a main character so thoroughly desexed and generally grey that one sort of imagines him as a Ken doll, completely generic and non-threating in every possible way. And I KNOW that's sort of the point of the main character, but still, he is pretty much one of the least enjoyable protagonists I've ever read since all you do is spend time with ...more
Bridget
Yep, Barbara Kingsolver does it again, with a book that almost demands that you keep reading. This is the story of Harrison William Shepherd, the son of a Mexican mother, and an American father. The father is indifferent to the boy, and his mother longs for romance and adventure, so she returns to Mexico with the boy.

The book is written as if it is a diary or journal of Harrison's life from his earliest memories. He details his life in Mexico, where through a series of events, he becomes the coo
...more
Julie Suzanne
I had the privilege of listening to Kingsolver read this aloud as well as reading the print...I love her. Her voice and her style of narration, her perfectly articulated words and sounds all captivated me instantly. Hearing V.B.'s voice as Kingsolver intended it is what made me want to just hug Violet Brown. The characters were so lovable (even though I'd never want to hang out with Harrison or Violet in real life, but Trotsky definitely).

I have heard people say that this book had a political ag
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Patty
I don't give a book the 5 stars without much consideration. This author's beautiful language and the things she taught me make Lacuna very special to me.
I found myself in the bright and colorful world of Frida Kahlo's Mexico, and the gloomy sphere of the iron curtain and our country's disturbing consequences of McCarthyism. A real work of art that took me away from my cozy home.
It's not a quick read or one you can put down without considering all the circumstances of all the main characters. Hop
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3 1/2 stars

The two sections of this book are different enough that it could almost be reviewed as two separate books. They really are THAT different.
First 275 pages or so = 4 stars
Final 230 pages or so = 2 stars

Kingsolver is at the peak of her descriptive powers in the first part of the book. Her bright, lively detailing of Harrison's early life in Mexico compensates for the patchiness of the narration. Add to that the real characters of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Lev (Leon) Trotsky, and it
...more
Nicole
Jan 08, 2014 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone willing to make the effort
About a week before I started reading Lacuna, my friend asked me when I thought Barbara Kingsolver was going to write a gay character. Little did we know...

The fascinating part of Shepherd's homosexuality, of his entire character really, is how it is revealed. Slowly, carefully, the way we had to peel away the thinest possible onion skins to put on slides in my 6th grade science class. Most of this story is told through Shepherd's journal entries, entries in which the pronoun "I" is notably lack
...more
MK Brunskill-Cowen
Is there anyone who writes with such beauty as Barbara Kingsolver? She has an ability to transform the reader from reading on a dreary porch to Isla Pixol, Mexico of the 1930s to Asheville, North Carolina of the 1940s. To transform someone from a beloved novelist to a scourge to be abhorred overnight. The Lacuna is about Harrison Shepherd, son of a Mexican woman and a US government official, who belonged to both countries, yet not to either of them. He wound up working for Diego Rivera and Frida ...more
Karen
The only disappointing thing about this book was that I finished it, and have no new Kingsolver books to look forward to.

As always, her writing is exquisite. I found myself re-reading parts just to savor her use of language.

The Lacuna is a novel based on real events in history--the Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and the period in the 1930's when Trotsky was exiled in Mexico. I learned a lot while enjoying a good story, not really sure where it was heading--but oh! does it come tog
...more
Aylin
I really liked the first part (roughly half) of this book about a boy (Harrison)who is being raised by a mother who eeks out an existence by sponging off the men she manages to ensnare. The setting is 1930's Mexico. Mexican artists Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo are an integral part of the story, as is Lev Trotsky (leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and Rivera's friend and houseguest).

The second half of the book completely switches gears. The setting is Asheville NC where Harrison is liv
...more
Brian
Kingsolver's best book since The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna is the story of a diffident, unassuming man who is thrust unwillingly onto the centre stage of history. Harrison Shepherd, is born in America but raised in Mexico by his half American, half Mexican mother, a woman who is temperamentally discontented with her position in society and is always seeking to improve it through a series of affairs with married men.

As a youth, Harrison becomes involved with the painters Diego Rivera and Frid
...more
Candace
This is quite the novel, as full and satisfying as anything I've read in some time. Its picture of Mexico in the 30's is spot on, and the characters of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Lev Trotsky feel fresh and sharp.

The political correctness which bored me in Barbara Kingsolver's novels seem naive has developed--she's showing, not preaching. A wonderful read by an author who is at her best.
salinthebay
Over the past 15 years, I have read most of Kingsolver. But, The Lacuna was a huge disappointment for me; I had a hard time finishing it. But, out of respect for her 15 years of research, I slogged through it.

Recently, I checked out her NPR review as suggested by other Goodread reviewers. Most loved it but a few discerning folks also had a problem.. Voila! NPR stated, "Lacuna refers to a gap or something that's absent. The motif of the crucial missing piece runs throughout the novel, but the th
...more
Margitte
For some or other reason, being a staunch admirer of Barbara Kingsolver's books, I just could not connect with this one anywhere. Do I blame the author? No. We, the book and I, just did not gel and that's it.

What I appreciated:
1) Historical background of Mexican history going back thousands of years, and American society between 1900 and more or less 1955: brilliant with enough detail to last a lifetime.

2) The characters: The protagonist as introduced by Violet Brown, his personal assistant and
...more
Will Byrnes
The Lacuna is really two books. One, the latter, is quite engaging, with a well-written historical perspective, emotional content, a bit of action. The other is an overlong back story, very light on involvement, written as if the author was watching the events and characters from behind a cloud. Considering that the stable of characters includes Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, it takes some effort to make them dull.

The Lacuna is Kingsolver’s attempt at a grand historical novel. She begins in 1929
...more
Krista
I tried & tried & tried to like this book...I am a huge Kingsolver fan so I expected it would grow into something wonderful. I liked the beginning, but once the main character was shipped off to the US, I lost total interest. I was already a little irritated by the disjointed, journal style but was enjoying the character's adventures in Mexico. But when he ended up in the US with his weird father & unpleasant characters, I forced myself to finish the first 100 pages & then stoppe ...more
Michael
This is a great read that satisfies on several levels. A key pleasure is Kingsolver's prose, which shines as we would expect from her track record of essays and novels about rural folks in Appalachia and the Southwest. It also satisfies as a coming of age tale of a half-Mexican, half-American boy, Harrison Shepherd, raised by his mother on an island near Vera Cruz and later transferred to the care of his father, who dumps him in a boarding school in Washington, DC.

Shepherd seeks solace from his
...more
thewanderingjew
This book is a powerful exposé of our country’s experiences and eventual recovery from the time of the depression until after World War II, up to and including the McCarthy era. The reminder of the world’s decay and the violent politics of that time made me shudder as I read it.
The book traces the life of a fictitious person, Harrison Shepherd, a rather lost soul, born in the United States of an American father, a government worker, and a Mexican mother of rather loose morals. He is shuttled fr
...more
Anne Broyles
Every night while I was reading this book, I dreamt of its characters. I enjoyed the leisurely first part, but when Kingsolver plunged into the Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo/Lev Trotsky section, I plunged deeper with her. And by the time the protagonist is writing books, receiving adulation and criticism in his homeland, I was reading the book on at least three levels: 1) paying attention to the protagonist's actions and reactions, 2)reviewing what I know of American history and culture from 1930-195 ...more
B the BookAddict
Feb 21, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Sally Howes
Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Mexico, Leo Trotsky, Committee on Unamerican Activities: The Lacuna is a wealth of information on these topics. But it's outstanding feature is it's narrator, Harrison Shepherd; Mexican/American, cook, sometime secretary, novelist and gay. Kingsolver's wonderful telling of his tale and those whose lives cross his path is insightful, humorous and full of pathos. I was, by turn, amused then saddened by his story; Harrison may have been a fictional character but many live ...more
Jan Rice
This book had some amazing segments. I listened on audio and am going to have to buy a hard copy just for some of the quotes and observations. But even though it was wonderfully read by the author, it went on too long. I thought it would never end. Therefore it's hard for me to recommend it.
Gini
Dec 27, 2009 Gini rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gini by: saw a television review
I saw a review of this book on television that made me buy it the next day. I'd not read Kingsolver before, but the first part of the story took place in Mexico, in the homes of Frida Khalo, Diego Rivera and Trotsky-- and I've been to those houses several times and was looking forward to reading about the people who had lived in them. I enjoyed the first half of the book very much, but the second half -- after so much color and action -- fell flat. Most of the story unfolded as rather obvious co ...more
JZ NJ
Became a 'huge Kingsolver fan in the mid 90's when I read "The Bean Trees", and "Lacuna" did not disappoint. Sometimes books come along at the right time, I had seen the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philly Art Museum, and of course, watched the movie again. So last year I picked up "Lacuna" and embraced it all, the art, the politics, and learned about the Monument Men, the military art experts who helped pack and move our art treasures from Washington DC to the Biltmore in Asheville! This amazed m ...more
Sally Howes
I just finished this book and I'm almost speechless with emotion and awe. Review will be coming soon, but for now, I just want to shout from the rooftops: EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!
Debbie
Very difficult book to get into. Barbara Kingsolver is an excellent and articulate writer, but there was just too much information and I found it all so boring at first. I had a hard time imagining this fictional character having a place in these actual historical events. It was a bit like Forrest Gump. Around 75% into the book it really picked up and came together. The ending was poignant and I really liked how all that information came together! The historical accuracy was impressive (and quit ...more
Mary
Amazing book. This blew me away, both as a reader and as a writer. There were a few moments that especially moved me. In particular, I'm thinking of a love letter that gets waylaid, and another sort of love letter that finally is opened and understood. The latter made me put the book down and cry. I couldn't open it again for the rest of the day--couldn't even look at the cover--even though it was at a critical part and I was dying to know what would happen, I couldn't face what the character's ...more
Carmen
While I thoroughly enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible I have huge problems with this book. Even though the book is fiction there are historical facts that have been included and it is indeed terrible when she makes so many mistakes. On page 56, she talks about the one fifth booty part that Cortes was to send to the Extremely Catholic Majesty the Queen. When this Queen, Isabel La Catolica, died in 1504, Cortes did not arrive in Mexico before 1519 and he wrote to and shared the booty with Carlos V The E ...more
Anita S
I loved this book. I enjoyed the intertwining of history and fiction and the way the author breathed life into characters such as Frieda Kahlo and Trotsky. Mexican history and customs were revealed along with American history as seen through the writings and adventures os Harrison Shepherd from the age of 12 in 1929 until the 1950's. Great story, well written!
Andy Miller
I usually love Kingsolver's books but I was disappointed with Lacuna. Part of Kingsolver's talent is making you feel like you know her characters and while there was some of that in the beginning and end of The Lacuna, the middle just seemed to drag.

The portion on Trotsky living in Mexico seemed especially weak. From reading the book you would think that Trotsky simply wanted to create a socialist democracy in Russia and if he hadn't been chased from Russia by Stalin, we would have had some sort
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What would you read first? 15 89 Sep 10, 2014 11:27AM  
What do you think is the most difficult novel written by Barbara Kingsolver? 20 83 Mar 02, 2014 07:37PM  
A spelling mistake in The Lacuna 1 41 Jan 17, 2014 01:30AM  
Lacuna 51 230 Dec 06, 2013 06:41PM  
Finished 8 84 Nov 14, 2013 10:42AM  
Barbara Kingsolver ROCKS. 7 79 Nov 14, 2013 10:31AM  
21st Century Lite...: This topic has been closed to new comments. What to Read March 2013: Open Pick has been chosen! 19 70 Feb 14, 2013 05:14PM  
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Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in Biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, ...more
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“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know.” 98 likes
“Memories do not always soften with time; some grow edges like knives.” 62 likes
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