I finally got around to finishing this book by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver. It is written as a kind of faux memoir/biography through journal entries, letters, newspaper articles and various narrators who knew the protagonist, Harrison Shepard. Although Shepard is a fictional character that Kingsolver has created, his life is interwoven with a number of real historical events, places and people. Shepard works as a cook to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, befriending the artists and eventually transporting Kahlo’s works to a US museum around the time of WWII. He works as a typist for Lev Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution. Shepard eventually makes a name for himself by authoring several success novels and drawing the attention of Hollywood and the US government during the time of the Red Scare.
This probably makes the book sound quite… um… historical. Which it is. But please make no mistake, this is not a cold account of events. This book is infused with the fragility of humanity, the touching loyalty of friendship and the difficulties of growing up without a strong national identity. I was absolutely cheering for Mr. Shepard’s happiness while reading his life’s tale and laughing at his gentle and potent self-deprecating view of life. This was a wonderful read, and I was sad when it was over.
If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear what you thought. Or if you have any good book suggestions for me, I’d be glad to have them as I am always looking for a good read.
Also my library section is pretty much up-dated (for now). So if you are looking for a good summer read check out my archives. It’s the least I can do for you.