Posts Tagged ‘The Lacuna’

In my attempt to begin to understand the people and culture of my new home, my reading has focused on all things Mexican… history, novels, cookbooks, travel writing, you name it!

Right now, I’m finishing Barbara Kingsolver’s historical novel, The Lacuna.  The story begins in 1929 Mexico, moves back and forth between Mexico and the USA, and ends in 1959.  It follows the protagonist, Harrison Shepherd, as he grows into adulthood, all the while navigating the turbulent political waters of these two countries.

Shepherd’s employment with artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo brings him into Leon Trotsky’s household in Coyoacan, Mexico City, where lively debates, as Trotsky answers Stalin’s slanders and formulates a transitional program to move from capitalism to socialism, help inform Shepherd’s own political development — and all in the household work tirelessly day and night (eventually unsuccessfully) to protect Trotsky from Stalin’s assassins.  It is “a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.”

And so, I was brought up short when I encountered yesterday’s demonstration by the Partido de los Comunistas Mexicanos…

Demonstration by the Partido de los Comunistas Mexicanos with red flags and posters of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and Josef Stalin.

Yes, that’s Josef Stalin’s portrait (far right) the demonstrators strung from the portales of Oaxaca’s Government Palace.  Hmmm… has word of Khrushchev’s revelations in 1956, at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, not yet reached Oaxaca?   Or, do we have a perfect illustration of a lacuna between truth and public perception?

Of course, I didn’t need to come down here to see unspeakable breaches…

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