Julie Suzanne's Reviews > The Lacuna

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
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Apr 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: art, historical-fiction
Read in May, 2011

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 agenda. I have to disagree. I believe that this novel, although centered around politics, is about humans, while politics never seem to be. This novel did not turn me into a socialist, a communist, an anti-communist, or a hater of capitalism, but it did make me want to embrace all kinds of people. It made me yearn to learn more about and to listen to people I don't know, and especially those that I think "I know about." Because I don't really. The best part about someone is that which you don't know. Thinking about that recurring message in the novel has impacted me. For reals.

This novel showed me about:

McCarthyism: how could we force people to value our government over theirs by silencing, condemning, and violating all of the personal freedoms that make our country so great?
The Bonus Army: How did I learn about this terrible event in high school (I had to have, right?) without remembering it? It's seared into my consciousness now...
Having your words used against you
Being a writer
Being a private person
Trotsky & Stalin
Stupid American slang from the 20's-50's.
Being gay when hardly anyone around you thinks that is okay
Censorship & other oppressive behavior
Artists, especially Frida & Diego
A lot of ancient Mexican history
Integrity

My favorites (I'm being vague so as not to spoil the plot)

a) when a character protested a violating probe by invoking our personal rights guaranteed to Americans, and the agent responded with something to the effect of, "No American talks like that; that's how I know you're a communist." HA! I don't think this is true anymore, and I'm hoping that we'll be a little less inclined to McCarthyism-type witch hunting in the future.

b) The metaphorical images in the first chapter and what they came to symbolize

c) The strong women (Frida & VB)

d) Lev

e) The subtlety

f) The statement that a rule of the media is to fill the silence, keep talking, whether it's true or not. Sounds familiar.

g) Barbara Kingsolver's voices when she reads aloud.

h) The ending.


I have to thank my local library for pushing me to read this by selecting it for book club. I would have really missed out on some opportunity to grow as a person had I not dived into the lacuna.







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