On the Shelf: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

I love Barbara Kingsolver. Mary just told me she lives near her and I was jealous. The Lacuna is yet another reason to think about naming her my very favorite author.  It took me awhile to get through because each chapter was so rich with details, plot and character. Kingsolver is an artist when it comes to her protagonists. Just as she did in The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees and even her autobiographical Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she presents us with full characters- heroic and brave but also flawed and aware of it.

The book prompts the reader to think about art, politics and love of country. Personally, I was most challenged to think about art and was moved by the narrator, Harrison Shepherd’s quote toward the end, “The purpose of art is to elevate the spirit or to pay a surgeon’s bill. Or both. It can help a person remember or forget. If your house doesn’t have many windows, you can hang up a painting and have a view… a book has all the same uses I mentioned, especially for the house without enough windows. Art by itself is nothing until it comes into that house.”

If you pick this up, know that it starts a little slow and doesn’t seem like a typical Kingsolver book. But with the introductions of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, not to mention the Trotskys, the book picks up pace rather quickly.

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