The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
A Novel (P.S.)

61%

14 Critic Reviews

In The Lacuna, Kingsolver allows history to dictate the characters, rather than the other way around. The brain is engaged by this account of a tumultuous period in our recent past, but the heart remains largely untouched.
-Guardian

Synopsis

In The Lacuna, her first novel in nine years, Barbara Kingsolver, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, tells the story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man caught between two worlds—an unforgettable protagonist whose search for identity will take readers to the heart of the twentieth century’s most tumultuous events.

 

About Barbara Kingsolver

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Barbara Kingsolver is the author of seven works of fiction, including the novels The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction such as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In 2000, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.
 
Published October 14, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 532 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Lacuna
All: 14 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 8

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Nov 08 2009

“The Lacuna” can be enjoyed sheerly for the music of its passages on nature, archaeology, food and friendship; or for its portraits of real and invented people; or for its harmonious choir of voices. But the fuller value of Kingsolver’s novel lies in its call to conscience and connection.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Alice O'Keeffe on Nov 07 2009

In The Lacuna, Kingsolver allows history to dictate the characters, rather than the other way around. The brain is engaged by this account of a tumultuous period in our recent past, but the heart remains largely untouched.

Read Full Review of The Lacuna: A Novel (P.S.) | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Maya Jaggi on Nov 06 2009

...the novel's later sections are marred by overstated irony, the dialogue too often staged between characters who agree, making for an authorial soapbox.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Lynn Voedisch on Dec 31 2009

For anyone who thinks we now live in a time of shocking assaults on civil liberties, Lacuna is a vivid reminder of what our beleaguered Bill of Rights and Constitution went through during World War II and the Cold War.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Richard Marcus on Oct 25 2009

After reading The Lacuna you may never look at a history book or a newspaper story in quite the same way again, and that’s a good thing.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by MADONNA HAMEL on Dec 04 2009

The Lacuna could be seen as her response to the "howlers" in her own life. Professional archivists also use the word "lacuna" to describe gaps in historical information. By filling in the lacunae with The Lacuna, she gets the last word.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Tina Jordan on Nov 04 2009

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.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Kai Maristed on Nov 02 2009

Even a card-carrying leftie (a literal term from the '40s, once applied to my father) cannot swallow the airbrushed portrait of Trotsky, in reality a boundless egotist and architect of ruthless collectivization, as a social-democratic Santa Claus.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Jane Shilling on Dec 20 2009

Kingsolver is a vivid, engaging writer with an evocative turn of phrase...Only a critic would complain that a book isn’t ugly enough. Readers will love it.

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Lloyd McMichael on Nov 13 2009

“The Lacuna” probes mid-20th-century America’s uses and abuses of language, media and power. It may be historical fiction, but readers will feel the sting of connection between then and now.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Below average
Reviewed by Donna Rifkind on Nov 11 2009

...without the novelty of a convincing protagonist, all that’s left in this deserted junction of imagination and history is the deadly smugness of hindsight.

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About.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Brenda Hadenfeldt on Mar 09 2016

Fate and history are strong themes in The Lacuna, and the story invites critical thinking about how history repeats itself. It is also an enjoyable, captivating read.

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About.com Bestsellers

Above average
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Mar 09 2016

As a story about a character -- Harrison Shepherd -- the novel lacked something. I think he remained too distant throughout the novel for the reader to truly be invested in his life...I can see it being a worthwhile read for a high school class or a book club...

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Neworld Review

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Vogelsong on Mar 10 2016

It is a noble and thoughtful approach, but Kingsolver falters in actually applying it to her characters, and as a result, the novel veers towards polemicism.

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Reader Rating for The Lacuna
79%

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