Books

This new book, Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver looks interesting.

Kingsolver doesn’t appear to suffer from writer’s block and she certainly hasn’t been twiddling her thumbs. Her understanding of Mexico and Spanish in The Lacuna are exemplary, and she must have researched deeply into the lives of Kahlo, Rivera, and Leon “Lev” Trotsky during the time he was one of Kahlo’s lovers. She doesn’t distort them into flawless heroes. They’re iconic figures, but portrayed warts and all: love affairs and self-obsession and revolutionary contradictions on all sides.

I haven’t yet read this review by Tariq Ali of Patenaude’s Stalin’s Nemesis and Robert Service’s Trotsky: A Biography. If anyone reads it, tell me if I should bother.

In this 1934 Diego Rivera mural, "Man, Controller of the Universe," Leon Trotsky makes an appearance.
In this 1934 Diego Rivera mural, “Man, Controller of the Universe,” Leon Trotsky makes an appearance.
Natalia and Leon Trotsky arriving in Tampico, Mexico, January 9, 1937, greeted by artist Frida Kahlo, center.
Natalia and Leon Trotsky arriving in Tampico, Mexico, January 9, 1937, greeted by artist Frida Kahlo, center.
"Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky Between the Curtains," by Frida Kahlo, 1937
“Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky Between the Curtains,” by Frida Kahlo, 1937
Casa museo Trotsky, Ciudad de México, Museum at Trotsky's home, Mexico City. Trotsky y Diego Rivera by hanneorla.

Casa museo Trotsky, Ciudad de México, Museum at Trotsky’s home, Mexico City. Trotsky y Diego Rivera

Casa museo Trotsky, Ciudad de México, Museum at Trotsky's home, Mexico City by hanneorla.

Casa museo Trotsky, Ciudad de México, Museum at Trotsky’s home, Mexico City

Leon Trotsky on his Deathbed, August 21, 1940
Leon Trotsky on his Deathbed, August 21, 1940

Images and captions from Lisa Waller Rogers and Hanneorla.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. In 1968, Tariq Ali was chanting, “We Shall Fight, We Shall Win; Paris, London, Rome, Berlin.” He was wrong. He didn’t win and there wasn’t really that much fighting. In 1980, Ali concluded his book Trotsky for Beginners with the following words:

    Trotsky’s legacy is the unfinished struggle: for proletarian democracy, for genuine socialism and the overcoming of bureaucracy, for social revolution in the ‘Third World’, for internationalism.

    Some might think that this former leader of the Trotskyist organisation, the International Marxist Group, and member of the International Executive Committee of the Trotskyist Fourth International is somewhat biased when it comes to Trotsky. I cannot think why.

  2. Nothing wrong with bias, it’s just being biased in the wrong direction!

  3. [...] Books [...]

  4. [...] Books [...]


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