Photograph: John McDonnell/Washington Post/Getty Images
Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna has just won the Orange Prize.
I used to love Kingsolver’s work (The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, Animal Dreams…), but The Poisonwood Bible didn’t work. It didn’t engage or challenge me in any way. It felt superficial or a bit off, or something. I can’t say what, exactly, because I read the first few pages and just didn’t care to continue. One day I’ll grit my teeth and read the whole thing and then I’ll be able to explain. Right now, though, I’ll just have to flap my hands inarticulately.
The Lacuna sounds a bit more solid. I own all her other work but I’m thinking I might order this from the library. (I feel a bit burnt and paying for Poisonwood.)
So has anyone read it? What did you think?
4 thoughts on “Anyone read The Lacuna?”
I recommend it. It's not a perfect novel, but it is very good. The characters are well-drawn, and the ending is ambiguous in a very nice way.
I will read anything Kingsolver writes, but I share your frustration with Poisonwood Bible — it was preachy, and some of the characters (the father, in particular) were one-dimensional. I worried that might happen again in Lacuna, since I knew it was partially about McCarthyism. This time I think she does a pretty good job of writing about troubling events without being self-righteous. Not perfect, but pretty good.
The scenes that take place in Mexico are pretty much perfect. I really enjoyed the portrayal of the relationships between Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Trotsky.
This one is worth paying for – although I read it from the library!
(and I need to figure out how to make my Google self come up as “Sue” not “Susan”!)
I think Kingsolver's writing heart is in hot and dusty places as opposed to lush landscapes. I don't know enough about Coyoacán, where Frida and Diego etc. lived (and so where I assume the book is partially set), to be able to say whether it's lush or arid–but if she does it so well then my guess is the latter…
Did you read Prodigal Summer? I loved that one.
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