When I finished this portion of his life I found myself a little surprised that almost half the book still remained. Where else would she take Harrison I wondered?
The last part of the book takes place in the US during the Red Scare. Having not lived through that part of history myself I have to rely on my history books to help me understand the power that an accusation of communist activity carried. Kingsolver's book brings this reality to the forefront. It struck me how easily an individual could be made into a suspect or seen as "the other". I wasn't necessarily surprised as this still goes on today in our contemporary society pretty frequently (think accusations of terrorism). But what is striking in the novel is that Harrison is really nobody, perfectly normal and average. Yes, he writes bestselling novels but they are "fluff" fiction according to his own words. He is not a threat in any capacity to the US government. And yet it is so simple, perhaps deceptively easy to identify him as a communist without evidence. Makes me think about what it means to find someone guilty of such unobservable crimes.
The book's slow introduction isn't a precursor to it's overall storyline. I found myself enraptured as the tale unfolded. I also felt pressed to pick my own brain to see what historical facts I could pull up for context as Harrison navigates the US and Mexico, famous artists and communist leaders. I still need to read up on central american history and it's relationship to the SSSR/Russia in order to really understand all of her references. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read with an important twist at the end that I had to re-read to make sure I got it.
Also the word lacuna means- gap. This is due to the gaps in the storyline and an important physical place Harrison discovers in his boyhood.
Thanks Barbara for another great story!