I once had a conversation with friends about "passions" in life. We felt bad because we didn't have any! But since then, I've decided I actually DO have two: Eating & Reading. Both of those seem to occupy a great deal of my time. Now add writing. Food & Books, who could go wrong with that?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver: There are times in my reading career when I find myself trudging through pages because of past history or a sense of loyalty to the author. When that happens, I'm reluctant to admit defeat or disinterest - I try to convince myself that I should like the book, because I've like other works by the same author. The Lacuna, unfortunately, was one of those books. I have thoroughly enjoyed Kingsolver's earlier works - Animal Dreams, The Bean Tree, and the complex, lengthy Poisonwood Bible. She is an excellent writer. But I could not overcome a separation between myself and the book this time. I just didn't care about the characters or the subject matter.

The story fluctuates between Mexico and the USA, set between 1930's and the 1950's. It's creative and well structured, and is receiving good press and positive reviews. I don't want to discourage anyone else from trying it, but I just wasn't that interested in Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Leon Trotsky, Mexico's convoluted political system, American 1950's Communist paranoia, etc. I never bonded with the narrator and without that connection, it just made tedious page turning. I have to confess to skimming through large parts of it, and skipping through to the last chapter just to see how the author would tie up all the loose pieces.

I'm returning it to the library today - too many books, too little time. Perhaps I should admit that, for me, Kingsolver is like a friend from the past. We had good times, and have nice memories, but no longer have anything in common. Maybe I have moved through a lacuna and am now on the other side - a past admirer but no longer enthralled. At least not with this particular work.

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