Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna


Read February 2014

The story of Harrison Shepard, a half US, half Mexican who lives and works as a cook with Frida Kahlo and then with Leon Trotsky. After Trotksy is killed by Stalinists he moves to the backwaters of the US, eventually becoming a successful writer. However, his past working with revolutionaries catches up with him during the Macarthy era and he is persecuted.Eventually he feigns suicide. He does it by visiting a lacuna in a bay, pretending he has drowned, but actually waiting in the lacuna until everyone has gone.

But the lacuna symbolises more than this – there’s a missing journal, and there is something missing from his life. An interesting thing is that the book gets progressively better and better written, presumably because it’s the notes of a young writer at the start, but eventually the notes of an older more experienced one.


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