The description of the lacuna lets us know, too, that we are dealing with an author whose mastery of language is indisputable:
At the end of the tunnel the cave opens up to light, a small salt-water pool in the jungle. Almost perfectly round, as big across as this bedchamber, with sky straight up, dappled and bright through the branches. Amate trees stood in a circle around the water hole like curious men, gaping because a boy from another world had suddenly arrived in their pool. The pombo trees squatted for a close look with their knobbly wooden knees poking up out of the water. A tiger heron stood one-legged on a rock, cocking an unfriendly eye at the intruder. San Juan Pescadero the kingfisher zipped back and forth between two perches, crying, "Kill him kill him kill him!...
It was like coming up in a storybook...
Kingsolver says that she wrote this book as part of an exploration of the relationship between art and politics. The three main historical characters are Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo, and Leon Trotsky. The geographical characters are Mexico and the United States.
Here are some other observations from Kingsolver:
"I was in Washington DC recently, and while traveling between bookstores I got stuck in traffic--held up behind the president's motorcade as he was going to deliver a speech about health care reform. I thought to myself, 'here I am, in the beating heart of democracy!'The New York Times calls The Lacuna "dazzling." It's the latest in a body of work that is amazingly diverse--poetry, short stories, novels, essays, journalism--from a woman who is highly intelligent and imaginative, erudite and emotionally connected. The fact that she is one of the few American writers who is willing to be overtly political in her work is a bonus, especially since I happen to agree wholeheartedly with her political positions.
"And then I came to Miami. And I realized that the real, true, beating heart of democracy is the place where people love books!"
* * *
"I consider myself an evangelist for literature. I am promoting forms of entertainment that wouldn't electrocute you if you dropped them in the bathtub."
* * *
"Literature is invented, but it's not fake. I won't waste your time with anything that is not authentic."
* * *
There's no test after you read a book. You can't do it wrong. Read it just for the plot. Read it for the characters. Read it for the deeper meaning. Read it just for the pleasure of being in that place.