“An imperfectly remembered life is a useless treachery. Every day, more fragments of the past roll around heavily in the chambers of an empty brain, shedding bits of color, a sentence or a fragrance, something that changes and then disappears. It drops like a stone to the bottom of the cave.”
When was the last time you fell madly in love with a novel? The last time the story was as good as the writing as good as the structure as good as almost every single sentence on the pages? The last time you — completely unawares — brought your fist to your chest or held your breath while reading?
I’ve picked up (and put aside) Barbara Kingsolver’s THE LACUNA so many times this past year. Should I buy this book? What’s it about? The title was off-putting: what is a “lacuna?” The description on the back cover was too short and too vague to give me a reason to buy it: 500 pages of what? At Book Club last week, my neighbor picked this book with the strongest endorsement I’ve heard in a long time. She didn’t want to tell us too much, didn’t want to spoil the story, just that it’s one of the best books she’s ever read, better than Kingsolver’s masterpiece THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, so good she can’t wait to read it again.
My heart went boom boom pow.
“The most important part of a story is the piece you don’t know.” This sentence is a key throughout the book, and it’s about all I want to tell you. You deserve to experience it for yourself.
Admittedly, for the first 30 or so pages, I wavered. I thought about putting it aside. I’m glad I kept on. The seemingly nebulous beginning will gain it’s heat and gravitas by the end — Barbara Kingsolver, you are brilliant — and I beg you to stick with it.
I finished THE LACUNA yesterday while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight. After the last page, I closed the covers with care and looked up, looked around me, certain that so many strangers could see it: the important part of the story, the piece they don’t know.