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Author: Barbara Kingsolver


In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic
journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the
America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant
story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern
identities. Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional
households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico
City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his
thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him
to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful
day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He
discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious
artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to
work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life,
Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper
headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence. Meanwhile,
to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the
internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth,
Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and
claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul,
his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer
than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue
to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the
unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption. With
deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of
how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has
created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The
Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as
one of the most provocative and important of her time.

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