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A "lacuna" is a void or a hidden part, reflecting the author's belief that the most interesting part of a story is the part that is not told. Our narrator, Harrison William Shepherd, is a homosexual writer who goes to work for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. When Leon Trotsky is assassinated, Frida seeks to protect Harrison by having him deliver art to the United States. His homosexuality and association with leftists make him the object of investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Quite a plot, but the best this novel has to offer lies in its character development and exquisite writing. Barbara Kingsolver believes this is her best work.