1. Do Harrison's diaries feel realistic to you? Does he sound like a 12-year-old at the beginning ... and later like a mature man? What kind of boy was he? What do you think of him?
2. What prompts Harrison to begin his journals? Why does he write? What does he mean by referring to his notebook as "prisoner's plan for escape"?
3. How about Harrison's mother? In what way does her profligate life affect how he decides to lead his own life?
4. What do you think of the Rivera/Kahlo household? How does Harrison see Rivera's influence over Kahlo? Have you seen the 2003 movie Frida? If so, does that film influence your reading of The Lacuna? (I hadn't even heard of the movie, but I'm surprised at how much these actors look like the real Diego and Frida. Click the link to see photos I posted earlier.)
5. I like Barbara Kingsolver's writing. In October, I visited the cemetery where my parents are buried; both born in October, they married each other exactly between their birthdays. When I read this a few days later, I realized my parents are still my family, but I've never thought of it that way. What do you think?
2 November, Dead People's Day6. Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, was one of the leaders of the Russian October Revolution. I had intended to ask you why he was called "Lev" in the book, but when I found this photo at Wikipedia, I learned Lev was the name he was born with. I had never heard that, and the book left me confused about why that name was used. What do you think of Harrison's assessment of Trotsky, quoted below? Why do you think things didn't turn out the way Lev anticipated?
"Leandro is at the cemetery to put flowers on his dead people: his mother and father, grandmothers, a baby son that died when it was one minute old, and his brother, who died last year. Leandro said it's wrong to say you don't have a family. Even if they are dead, you still have them" (p. 32).
"Even in the horror of war, Lev [Trotsky] is optimistic; he says it will make internationalists of us all. A modernized proletariat will unite, because war so conspicuously benefits rich men and kills the poor ones" (p. 224).7. What new things have you learned from reading this book?