Just before we left France, I ran across The Lacuna in the English bookstore in Aix. I was excited to find it because The Bean Trees is one of my favorite novels and I had been wanting to read more of Barbara Kingsolver. I bought it to read on the plane on the way back but overestimated the amount of reading time I would have on our long travel day, what with having an infant and all. Because of all the moving and stuff I have done over the past year, I never made much progress in it until recently. I finally settled into it and didn’t even bother to start over, just picked up where I had an envelope shoved in, and was completely engrossed. Kingsolver just has a way with words that is truly artistic and I thoroughly enjoy reading her.

I will say that she does deal with political issues in her works, which normally I find very annoying. If I want to be preached at I go to church. (The Temperance Brennan novels by Kathy Reichs, for example, always deal with some “issue” and I always skip the part at the end where she summarizes the issue and does the preachy thing.) Somehow, though, Kingsolver does it subtly and it’s not offensive at all (to me, anyway) and really makes you think about whatever it is the characters are dealing with. Anyway if you find politics and literature a truly abhorrent mixture then I guess stay away.

But I thought it was fantastic and mesmerizing.

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