Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Lacuna

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The Lacuna

A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2009, 528 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 544 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

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Beyond the Book

Trotsky in Mexico
Kingsolver's fictional protagonist, Harrison Shepherd, spends much of his life brushing up against the lives of real people, including the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who played host to Leon Trotsky in the 1930s. Undoubtedly, you know of Trotsky, Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist, but did you know that he spent the last years of his life exiled in Mexico?

The story of his exile starts with the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924. Although Lenin had appointed Joseph Stalin General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party he had grown distrustful of him and had come to favor Trotsky as his successor, and had even written a letter to that effect. However, on Lenin's death, Stalin manouvered quickly to consolidate his power and Trotsky found himself on the back foot. Trotsky continued to battle for leadership as the de facto leader of the Left ...

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