I’ve had a rocky relationship with Barbara Kingsolver. While I loved many of her earlier books like Pigs In Heaven, Animal Dreams, The Bean Trees, and her sweeping Poisonwood Bible, I must admit that I fell off with Prodigal Summer. So bitter was the taste of that love story let down, that I haven’t been able to bounce back to her work.
For better or for worse, every author has the right to test new ground and break their own barriers, and truth be told I would much rather have a writer step outside the box than sit inside the mainstream. On her home site Ms. Kingsolver says, “What keeps me awake at the wheel is the thrill of trying something completely new with each book. I’m not a risk-taker in life, generally speaking, but as a writer I definitely choose the fast car, the impossible rock face, the free fall.” It is this attitude that has brought about high praise and award for The Lacuna and a definitive revisit to her work from me.
On Wednesday, Barbara Kingsolver won the highly regarded Orange Prize for fiction by women. A stiff competition, The Lacuna was up against Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs and Hilary Mantel’s Booker winner Wolf Hall. Chosen for its “breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy,” The Lacuna apparently edged out the other contenders in what was a difficult decision for the panel.
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Post by Megan Shaffer
-Try this brief piece in The New York Times
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