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Monday, June 24, 2013

Wednesday, 1st May, 2013 - The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (chosen by An)

  • Hardcover - 508 pages which we obtained from BetterWorld Books
  • Set in 1930's Mexico and moves on to Asheville, North Carolina, USA in the later years
  • Story told as a journal
  • two narrators
  • Many areas covered including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Leon Trotsky, reaction to Communism, US depression, World War II, McCarthy Era.

What we discussed:

The Title
"Lacuna" - a gap, a space, or something that is missing.
We noted that the title was symbolic and had many meanings in the book - The underwater cavern, one of the physical references mentioned ... but then there was the emotional state of Harrison Shepherd for there was always something missing in Shepherd's life. He was unable to fit into the world around him.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Revera 
We talked about the life of Frida Kahlo and her relationship with Diego Rivera.
We also looked at many photographs (family photos, themselves, their home etc) and pictures of their paintings.

Leon Trotsky
We talked about Trotsky, the politics of that time and how his life came to a tragic end in Mexico.
We looked at photos of Trotsky and of his place in Mexico (now a museum) and we discussed his relationship with the Rivera and Kahlo, his family and what happened to them after he died.

Politics of that period had us shaking our heads and brought strong reactions around the group


Barbara Kingsolver website

Reading Group Guide

Frida Kahlo : Portraits of an Icon by Margaret Hooks   (has beautiful black and white photos)

Frida Kahlo by Jill A Laidlow   (easy to read with lots of colourful illustrations throughout)

Frida Kahlo by Frank Milner    (about Frida's life and has colour plates of her paintings)

Frida Kahlo corsets (Mail online link) 

Leon Trotsky Museum in Mexico

Trotsky's Great Grandaughter

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