Customer Reviews for

The Lacuna

Average Rating 3.5
( 413 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Wow, Kingsolver has Written another GREAT BOOK

This book is a fantastic read from start to finish. I think this may be her best book yet.

I am a huge fan of Kingsolver's fiction, but I think this one has the best character portrayals. When I heard the premise of the plot I thought it would be rather staged or...
This book is a fantastic read from start to finish. I think this may be her best book yet.

I am a huge fan of Kingsolver's fiction, but I think this one has the best character portrayals. When I heard the premise of the plot I thought it would be rather staged or forced. But Frida Kahlo is so wonderfully imagined in this book, I found myself wanting to reconsider my formerly negative opinion of her paintings. Why? I guess because Kingsolver made me see them from a new perspective. I realize that it is fiction, but somehow I never "got" Kahlo until I read this novel. Now I realize she was probably like a lot of the women in my life: strong, hard to like, easy to admire, full of kick ass rebellion, and uniquely beautiful but also a very jealous, protective person. Once I finished the novel I actually decided I needed to go see some of her paintings and look at them again.

I also laughed out loud at some of the descriptions of things like Bauhaus architecture as seen through Kahlo's eyes and noted down by the protagonist in his fictional diaries. This was true of many of the other characters as well; suddenly the idea of Rivera as this bumbling, charismatic, frustrating man was so intense to me that I felt as if I had actually met him. Kingsolver makes each of the "famous" people in this book come to life that way. The small details of their appearance are so vividly imagined that you feel as if you were at a party with all of them, or shared a house one summer during college.

Kingsolver does not disappoint. I had no idea where she was taking us until the last chapter. Just like real life, the twists and turns of the plot were so unexpected, but then once I had gotten to the end I looked back and said: oh, of course that is what happened. I think that may be the mark of a really good book.

Great book to read in the winter, especially if there is a huge blizzard out your window and you want to just get away. Although this is not an escapist fantasy, the setting is so beautifully drawn that you will be whisked away to the azure waters of Mexico, or stand atop the Mayan ruins and forget the snow outside that falls.

Thanks, Kingsolver, for this wonderful novel.

posted by 1030260 on February 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

give up...

Decided to quit at page 78. I have enjoyed every previous book of this author, especially the mezmerizing 'Poisonwood Bible', but in this novel many, many pages are just pretentious, tedious and egotistical ramblings. There are so many better books out right now to sp...
Decided to quit at page 78. I have enjoyed every previous book of this author, especially the mezmerizing 'Poisonwood Bible', but in this novel many, many pages are just pretentious, tedious and egotistical ramblings. There are so many better books out right now to spend my time with.

posted by mouliin on December 2, 2009

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Lacuna is aptly titled - there's something missing

    The Lacuna treats familiar themes in some very predictable ways.

    Those who prefer history "straight" with no fictional inventions will likely find The Lacuna disappointing. Readers who like their fiction to be exactly that - pure invention - will undoubtedly find the sections with Rivera/Kahlo, Trotsky, Stalin, HUAC (all real) intrusive.

    The most lively and exciting sections are those that are Kingsolver's creation entirely: the protagonist's Mexican mother, a female Cortes, whose efforts to successfully sniff out men and their gold eludes her; the protagonist's early successes as a writer, who sets female hearts aflame inadvertently' and the relationship between the protagonist and his "shrinking Violet" stenographer. These don't occur until two-thirds of the way through the book and readers must plow through cartoon-like renderings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and writing that tries its best to make Leon Trotsky and what remains of his family sympathetic. But, as the title of the book suggests, something is missing here.

    The ending of the book comes as no surprise to this reader; it was clear to me what would occur. How one interprets the literal events at the end depend upon whether or not a reader seeks something happy and tidy or not. And that would mean caring about the characters - or at least caring about the protagonist. Ultimately, this reader did not.

    Thematically, the book treads heavily on the notion that we can bend, fold, spindle and mutilate history - including personal history - to our own ends. If there is a void, it will be filled and not necessarily by reason or the truth. Kingsolver takes this theme global and offers us an America that energes from WW II cocky and self assured, though woefully wrong-headed almost all of the time. The theme finds its parallels in the writings of Kingsolver's protagonist, who endeavors to share his vision of the Mexican Empire with a reading public that prefers whatever history it encounters to be dipped in blood, lust and power, a Mayan or Aztec bodice-ripper.

    Ultimately, I found The Lacuna to be well-written and predicated upon vast stores of factual material. But, again, like its title, there is something missing. You've heard this story before - and done better.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    The book was very hard to read and comprehend.

    I did not like the book, it was very hard to read. The writing style of Barbara Kingsolver was not to my liking. Being a college student and reading and skimming many books for both content and out of necessity of getting information to apply to the course and the degree, I found it hard to get through one sentence to get onto the next.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    question reviews

    I have read a couple of bios of the character. I guess I'm not the usual reader; I found the book tedious, too long and didn't even finish it. I am a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, but didn't like this book at all and wouldn't lend it from my nook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    Pass for a summertime read

    Read 200 pgs and gave up - not a typical hit in my mind for Kingsolver

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If you've seen Frida, you don't need to read this book

    Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors, but this book I couldn't even finish. I got about halfway through it before I gave up. The story is good and is written with an interesting construction, but after seeing the movie Frida, I couldn't separate the images and plot sequence from the movie from what I was reading. If you haven't seen Frida, then I think you will enjoy this book. It provides a rich illustration of the life of Frida Kahlo from the perspective of a close associate/ employee in a writing style that is fresh and adventurous.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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