Monday, September 13, 2010
Lacuna is defined as an empty space or a missing part. (It's the name of the company in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND that erases people's unhappy memories). And there are lots of lacuna references in this novel. It's the underwater cave where Harrison goes diving as a teen, and returns to as an adult. It refers to the missing diaries or "holes" in Harrison's story, and the gap between what is true and what is assumed. And, in my opinion, it also refers to Harrison, who never makes a strong impression or is really very present in the novel even though he is the main character.
In the beginning portion of the novel, it's Harrison's mother Salome who steals the show. At mass, "Salome walked to the head of the line, accepting the host on her tongue as if this were a bakery line and she had plenty of other errands." (p 23). Even the kitchen boy Leandro is more memorable than Harrison in this section. In the second third the focus is on Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Lev Trotsky and the third, Harrison's stenographer Violet. Is it a stylistic choice for Harrison to fade so completely into the background of his own story? Could be. But my lack of connection with him made my whole reading experience tend towards the meh end of the Kingsolver spectrum, despite the lush descriptions and the skillful inclusion of history.
THE LACUNA is now available in paperback. Find out more about it at the author's website.
This review is part of a TLC book tour. Visit the other stops for more opinions on Kingsolver's work.