Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Review #4: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper

My Thoughts:
For those of you new to my blog, my husband, Sean, has done a few Guest Reviews for me in the past. He does it when he wants and it's definitely not each book he reads. He is a very fast reader and churns through books when he has the time. (jealous!) He felt pretty strong about this one and asked if it would be okay to write a review. I said, by all means....He simply writes what he feels. He doesn't follow the same format that I do, with the rating system, book club note, etc. He does what he does.
So here he is.

Sean's Thoughts:

I am not normally a fan of books written in the form of letters or diary entries, as these usually read in a very contrived fashion.. using verbage nobody would actually include in a typical letter. However, the subject matter in this case managed to compensate for it. Told from the perspective of a young man, the story dwells in some historical events that, through the lens of popular culture, have become clouded or even erased from the history books. Though slow to start, I was intrigued to read this 'insider' account of these events.

The initial setting is depression era Washington DC, and Mexico; as observed by a cross-cultural boy searching for his identity. Finding an affinity with cooking and working with his hands, he is found by Diego Rivera as an excellent hand at mixing mortar,
and later is employed as cook.
In this capacity he meets such icons as Frida Kahlo, Leon Trotsky, and many other communist activists of the 1930's and '40's. This book skillfully illustrates how a person could be innocently embroiled in close personal relationships with "enemies of the state" and have little knowledge of the ramifications of such friendships in the face of the McCarthy agenda.

I really enjoyed this book, primarily for the enlightening take on the subject of communism. History books always lump Lenin and Stalin as being cut from the same cloth, but this clearly shows that Lenin and Trotsky were completely different from Stalin, and illustrates some of the major differences between these platforms.
I would recommend this book for anyone curious about depression- era economics, pre cold war relations with the USSR, and the role of communism in the Mexican revolution.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Stacy at The Novel Life said...

very cool review Sean! I've had this book on my tbr shelf for literally i've got to dust it off and finally read it!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Fascinating. Great review! I bet my husband Mr. Whimsy would enjoy this as well.