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Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna | The Lucana by Barbara Kingsolver

I so wanted to love this sprawling, old-fashioned historical novel, Barbara Kingsolver’s first in nine years. The Lacuna is the tale of Harrison Shepherd, an American-born, Mexican-bred boy whose life takes him from a coastal jungle village to Mexico City, where he wangles a job mixing plaster for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (after that, he works as Leon Trotsky’s secretary). But the book — told through newspaper clippings, letters, bits of memoirs, and the like — never quite comes together. Though the rich smells and sounds of 1930s Mexico seem to spill off the page, when Kingsolver moves Shepherd to the U.S., where he becomes a famous novelist, her plot grows muddy — and, worse, a bit predictable. B

The Lacuna
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