The Lacuna is the story of Harrison Shepherd a Mexican American writer who is born in the USA but grows up in Mexico. He works for a while with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, round the time when Trotsky is living with them.
Shepherd then moves to the US, becomes a writer and gets caught up in the anti communist witch hunts after the second world war.
a lot I loved about the book, the writing is excellent and the issues
raised by the book are thought provoking. Specially the contrast between
the relationship between art and politics in Mexico and in the US. Then
the fact that Shepherd writes historical fiction that has disguised
relevance to the times he lives in, presented in a historical novel that
has (disguised) relevance to the times we read it in (issues round
censorship and in scapegoating groups we're suspicious of).
like the way the book is put together, diaries, fictional reviews of
Shepherd's books, letter and newspaper articles. Though I am aware that
this may not work for all readers.
I'm always uncomfortable
though when real characters from history are shown in fiction
intereacting so closely with fictional characters that effectively
history is rewritten. Shepherd didn't exist, so the stories that centre
round him and Kahlo, Rivera and Trotsky aren't true, though those other
characters are real and have real stories.
Overall though it's an impressive book and well worth reading