Barbara Kingsolver has the ability to create memorable characters. They come to life on the page. She also is able to write very humerous scenes. This is the first of her books I have read. I enjoyed it so much I am now reading The Poisonwood Bible.
I have long been a Kingsolver fan and was eager to read this new book. Harrison Sheppard, the main character, is highly compelling and the historical aspects of the book make it even more interesting to read. For me, getting to know Frida Kahlo was especially intriguing because I have long wondered about her appeal. The Lacuna touched me deeply will stay with me for a long time. Harry says in the book that the best part of art, including books, is what is left unsaid. So much is implied in this book and so much pertains to the political and economic situation today without actually being that.
Like a few others, I have loved all of Kingsolver's previous books, my favorite being the Poinsonwood Bible. Her writing is brilliant. It is unfortunate that she chose to be the narrator/reader of this one, as her narration has ruined the story. She enunciates way too carefully and reads like a grammar school teacher to children. It was hard to get through the book because it was so difficult to listen to her.
I'd really like my money back. I usually adore Barbara Kingsolver but I can't make my way through this book. I started this book over 5 times because Ms. Kingsolver insists on over-pronouncing each consanent and separating each word from the next so distinctly that it's ponderous. It's as if she's reading to 4th graders. She also emphasizes words that are unimportant and that is confusing.
Kingsolver usually chooses topics that are important and makes them intensely interesting by drawing you into the characters but somehow this book comes across as if she was personally interested in this historical era and wanted to preach to us about it to us for another agenda. I've given up. Perhaps if a skilled performer had read it, I would have been involved enough to followed it through.
I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could. I loved every minute of it. This is one of those experiences where I couldn't wait to get back to listening to see what would happen next, yet wanted to savor the story and the language, and not have it end. Kingsolver does a surprisingly good job reading (surprising because she is a writer, after all, not as far as I know a narrator, and also because there are a LOT of very different characters in this book). Far and away the best part of her narration is the voice she gives to Violet Brown. Don't miss this!
Barbara Kingsolver has written an amazingly beautiful book which is thought provoking through out it's rich account of the main characters life. The main character retains an innocence and goodness despite the many ups and downs in his life. The author has also managed to convey important 20th century history with out a history lesson but as a backdrop to the main characters life and interweaves that history seamlessly. Bravo!
The book is an interesting insight into the murder of Lev Trotsky in Mexico, the use of troops against the WWI veterans in Washington, and the Anti-Communist mania in the U.S. following WWII. The book is a little slow in the middle sections, after the main character returns to the U.S. from Mexico, but the characters and the settings are interesting and the ending is quite good. Not quite as special as the author's best known book, "The Poisonwood Bible."
Barbara Kingsolver reads this herself - Beautiful language. The book is hard to get into, so I put it down for a bit. Then returned a month later. That would never have happened with previous Kingsolver novels. I found the writer's technique of a book as a series of journal entries and letters off-putting, hard to follow and disjointed. I finally 'got into it' the last third of the book. The part I found least interesting (the time spent with Freida Kahlo) ended up being central to the end of the book. Worth persevering to the end, but not worth more than 3 stars.
I usually really like Kingsolver's books and was starting to wonder where this story was headed. Finally it picked up and was worth pushing through the first half.
The story had a difficult beginning. The narration by the author was not an asset. But I have listened to most of the story 3 times and have enjoyed it more with each listen.