I discovered Barbara Kingsolver last year, and since then I’ve been working through whatever of her books I can access through my local library. The Lacuna is my seventh Kingsolver read, and it is my favorite.
The Lacuna is set in two different worlds as seen through the eyes of Harrison Shepherd. He is the son of an American man and a Mexican woman. Twelve-year-old Harrison is taken away to Mexico by his mother, and there he is first a cook to artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo before becoming a secretary for Leon Trotsky, a Russian exile. When Harrison later returns to the States as an adult, he is swept up in McCarthy’s Red Scare for his past associations with communistic Mexico.
The novel consists of his journal entries and various newspaper clippings. Harrison is more of a reporter than an active participant in his life. He later becomes a published writer and draws from his Mexican experience to pen blockbuster novels of the days of the Aztecs and Cortes.
The latter parts of the novel were the most quietly terrifying. Kingsolver does an excellent job of bring the reader into the experience of a modern-day witch hunt.