I enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible so was hoping that I’d like The Lacuna too. I even saved it to be my last read from the Orange short list as a special treat to myself. Unfortunately my expectations were dashed as I really struggled to enjoy The Lacuna.
The Lacuna begins in Mexico in 1929 and covers an interesting period of history in both America and Mexico. The fictional characters are mixed with real people such as Lev Trotsky, so this book is a departure for Kingsolver in that it is her first work of historical fiction.
The book began slowly and I found I had to concentrate really hard just to understand what was happening. I quickly ensured that I only read the book in large chunks when I had nothing to distract me. Unfortunately this hard work didn’t pay off as I wasn’t rewarded by an entertaining story. I found the writing to be very passive and although some of the descriptions were interesting I was never drawn into their life. I was just a bored observer.
The characters were flat and I found it impossible to connect with any of them. There was just no emotion in the book – even scenes of horrific acts were observed in a pleasant way. I became increasingly frustrated by the light, monotonous tone and so considered giving up at several points. The length (nearly 700 pages) was the main reason I eventually gave up. It would have taken me a week of reading to complete this book and I didn’t want to dedicate such a large chunk of my reading time to a book that I wasn’t enjoying. I gave up after around 200 pages, but in many ways I wish I had done so much earlier.
Overall, this book was a big disappointment.
The thoughts of a few other bloggers:
Throughout the story, important things were happening, but since I didn’t feel any connection to the main character, it became very hard for me to care. Fyrefly’s Book Blog
….the ending is amazing! A Book Sanctuary
At times Kingsolver seems to believe that she has to write for the lowest common denominator, a reader who knows nothing of history and has no chance of divining meaning. Book Gazing