Click cover to read a sample

The Lacuna

Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna is the heartbreaking story of a man’s search for safety of a man torn beween the warm heart of Mexico and the cold embrace of 1950s McCarthyite America.

Born in the U.S. and reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salomé. Making himself useful in the household of the famed Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, young Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution. A violent upheaval sends him north to a nation newly caught up in World War II. In the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina he remakes himself in America’s hopeful image. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach – the lacuna – between truth and public presumption. A gripping story of identity, loyalty and the devastating power of accusations to destroy innocent people. The Lacuna is as deep and rich as the New World.

"The research and writing were simultaneous, almost to the end. I kept discovering fascinating and horrifying events buried in the historical record that made my heart race, and pushed me on toward my final conclusions."

Explore the other winners

Winner announced - 9th September

Stay in the loop

Enter your email to be the first to know the latest news from the Women's Prize For Fiction


Vote for your favourite #WomensPrize winner

Cast your vote for your favourite #ReadingWomen book and decide who will be our Winner of Winners in our 25th year.

Favourite book Live

  • A Spell of Winter
    5% 158 / 3k
  • Fugitive Pieces
    1% 53 / 3k
  • Larry's Party
    1% 40 / 3k
  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
    0% 23 / 3k
  • When I Lived in Modern Times
    0% 26 / 3k
  • The Idea of Perfection
    0% 16 / 3k
  • Bel Canto
    3% 116 / 3k
  • Property
    0% 14 / 3k
  • Small Island
    8% 269 / 3k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 222 / 3k
  • On Beauty
    3% 107 / 3k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    19% 610 / 3k
  • The Road Home
    2% 63 / 3k
  • Home
    2% 80 / 3k
  • The Lacuna
    2% 81 / 3k
  • The Tiger's Wife
    1% 42 / 3k
  • The Song of Achilles
    12% 370 / 3k
  • May We Be Forgiven
    1% 37 / 3k
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
    2% 78 / 3k
  • How to be Both
    4% 125 / 3k
  • The Glorious Heresies
    2% 69 / 3k
  • The Power
    5% 157 / 3k
  • Home Fire
    5% 181 / 3k
  • An American Marriage
    5% 181 / 3k
Win a set of our 2020 shortlist!

Sign up for the Women's Prize for Fiction newsletter and win a stack of this year's six shortlisted books.

(We will send you occasional emails full of author interviews, extracts and audio, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Please read our privacy policy for more information).