Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: The Lacuna

It was my turn to pick the book for our latest book group selection, and I'd been looking forward to the latest Barbara Kingsolver novel for quite a while. I hadn't gotten around to reading it on my own, so I suggested it to the group. I felt pretty nifty because the day after we reserved our 5 copies of The Lacuna at the library, the book won this year's Orange Prize for Fiction. ::Pats self on back::

In any event, we managed to get three copies before the hordes descended, which we're sharing. I finished the book last night, and was strongly reminded of why I like Kingsolver's writing so much. She's not page-turningly cinematic like Steig Larsson or Stephenie Meyer, but she weaves a well constructed, engaging story. She's also very good at switching narrators, which she also used successfully in The Poisonwood Bible.

The story is set in the US and Mexico from about the 1900s up to the 1950s. Her descriptions are extremely vivid, the characters are endearing (and flawed). It's historical fiction, where the protagonist is dropped into a setting with historical figures. There were a few surprises along the way, which I won't spoil by elaborating further. The first half did, however, expand my repertoire of Spanish swear words quite significantly.

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