Saturday, March 6, 2010
Ruta Rimas sent me a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna for Christmas, and it's been sitting over there, on the chair of unread books, ever since—gold and heavy-weighted.
This morning I rose to a desk full of work, glanced at the book chair and said to myself, "Well, who is going to notice, really, if you spend an hour of this morning reading?"
So that's all I've done—spent an hour reading The Lacuna—and may I just say that if nothing else wonderful happens in this story (and I doubt that will be the case), the first 28 pages contain Kingsolver's best writing ever, anywhere, as far as I can tell. This book takes place in Mexico, a country I've visited just twice (Juarez first, San Miguel de Allende, where I took this photo, second). I can now say that I've gone to Mexico thrice.
Salome put on the new frock, painted a bow on her mouth, took her son by the arm and walked to town. They smelled the zocalo first: roasted vanilla beans, coconut milk candies, boiled coffee. The square was packed with couples walking entwined, their arms snaking around one another like the vines that strangle tree trunks. The girls wore striped wool skirts, lace blouses, and their narrow-waisted boyfriends. The mood of the fiesta was enclosed in a perfect square: four long lines of electric bulbs strung from posts at the corners, fencing out a bright piece of night just above everyone's heads.
I've been there. I've seen that.