Barbara Kingsolver fills a nine-year gap with 'The Lacuna'
With an introduction by Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, Barbara Kingsolver made a rare public appearance at the 2009 Miami Book Fair to introduce her first novel since The Poisonwood Bible was published nine years earlier--The Lacuna (Harper; November, 2009), a novel set in Mexico and the U.S. spanning the transformative years in world history, 1929-1950. Offering a taste of the 528-page novel's storyline and characters, Kingsolver read four passages from the book, beginning with the very beginning of the story, where we meet the howlers and the main characters, Salome and her son, the novel's protagonist, Harrison, as he is growing up in Mexico. Kingsolver closed her reading with a passage wherein Harrison, now a bodice-ripping, historical romance writer living in the U.S., returns to Mexico in 1947. Following the reading, Kingsolver took questions from the audience regarding her shy personality and the private vs. public life of a writer; her ability to evoke a keen sense of place, creating the 'fabric of details' for her novels through visualization, first-hand experience of the place, and historical research; her perspective on the relationship between art and politics; whether her characters are real or allegorical, using Nathan Price in The Poisonwood Bible as an example; her delineation of the differences between literary and commercial fiction; and the scope of her writing life and career, from childhood poet to bestselling author.
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