Book Concierge's Reviews > The Lacuna

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
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Nov 04, 12

Recommended for: lovers of literary fiction
Read in March, 2012 — I own a copy

Audio book performed by the author.
4****

Kingsolver tells the story of William Harrison Shepherd, a young man caught in the gaps (the lacunae) between two countries, two parents, two cultures, two lives (public and private). The novel unfolds as a series of diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, spanning the period from 1929 to 1954. Never quite at ease with his place in the world, Shepherd is an astute observer, who carefully considers what he witnesses and forms his own opinions. But he is not a man of action; he goes along for the ride, letting history unfold around him and never quite understanding how it has derailed his meager hopes. When he fails to play the media’s game, he finds himself the object of increasingly outlandish stories; and, eventually, accusations taken as truths will destroy him. The lacuna that is most important here is the space between truth and a falsehood perceived as truth.

I love how Kingsolver’s luscious writing paints the landscape and time period. I could just about taste the sugary pan dulce or savory chalupas; was nearly deafened by the howler monkeys, the din of the marketplace or the shouts of demonstrators and riot police; I relished in the colors of the tropics and felt subdued by the grey of a mountain winter.

I did eventually grow to appreciate Kingsolver's narration, though I really had a difficult time with her performance at the outset. I thought she was too “careful” with her words; it lacked emotion and “life.” But she really shone, in my opinion, when she voiced Frida Kahlo and, especially later in the novel, Violet Brown. I think I am going to have to read this one again – this time in a text format.
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