A main selection of the Black Expressions Book Club.
Refreshingly ambitious in its intellectual scope.
--New York Times Book Review
A captivating tale of Oufoula Sindede, an African diplomat in a passionless marriage who falls madly in love with Marguerite, a New York City artist.
Right from the start of this haunting novel, Nunez adopts the mesmerizing myth-spinning voice of an oral storyteller...In unaffected prose, Nunez explores self-deception, envy, Christian monogamy vs. African polygamy, and the very real dilemma of loving two people at once...This rich, multilayered narrative is powerful in its sweep and moving in its insight.
A complex portrait of a love triangle by a gifted writer.
Set amongst the struggles of American, Caribbean, and African diplomacy in the late 1980s, Discretion follows the harrowing journey of Oufoula Sindede, a diplomat of rough beginnings, who discovers his desires may be out of his control.
Dutifully married to lovely Nerida, Oufoula goes through the motions of marriage, formally keeping his distance from the woman with whom he shares his bed. And yet there is a deeper, buried passion within him that will lead him to question which values he holds sacred and which can be sacrificed.
Despite his quiet marriage, the memory of a fiery love affair triggers Oufoula to entangle himself in the life of another woman, a Jamaican-born painter named Marguerite. Soon he discovers that Marguerite is nothing like any of his quick old flames or his gentle wife, Nerida--Marguerite is much more.
And so begins a whirlwind affair, spanning over twenty years, between a young woman who wants order and love and a man who is torn between the honors of his profession and his dishonorable love life; the old African customs of polygamy and the American dream; and the passion for a mistress and the duty to his wife. Nunez's heartbreaking fourth novel questions the customs we think we know with the truths that passion and love reveal about ourselves.
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About the Author
Elizabeth Nunez is the award-winning author of a memoir and nine novels, four of them selected as New York Times Editors' Choice. Her two most recent books are Not for Everyday Use, a memoir, which won the 2015 prestigious Hurston Wright Legacy Award for nonfiction, and the novel Even in Paradise, a contemporary version of Shakespeare's King Lear. Her other novels are: Boundaries (nominated for the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Fiction); Anna In-Between (PEN Oakland Award for Literary Excellence and long-listed for an IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award); Prospero's Daughter (2010 Trinidad and Tobago One Book, One Community selection, and the 2006 Florida Center for the Literary Arts One Book, One Community); Bruised Hibiscus (American Book Award); Beyond the Limbo Silence (Independent Publishers Book Award); Grace; Discretion; and When Rocks Dance. Nunez received her PhD from New York University and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, CUNY, where she teaches courses on Caribbean Women Writers and Creative Writing.
"A richly woven, multilayered work that is riveting from the opening paragraph."
--Black Issues Book Review
"A provocative new love story...Discretion delivers two memorable characters whose personal cultural clashes, both shared and internalized, are as telling as those of the world they inhabit."
"Elizabeth Nunez's writing is lush and dense, like a rain forest letting in light. Her imagery is so rich, and her mastery of storytelling so compelling and fluid, it's hard to believe a woman is actually telling this story from a man's point of view. Ms. Nunez has managed to capture the complexities of political responsibility and the burdens that come with it which interfere with passion and unfiltered love. I applaud her for helping me appreciate the dichotomy between pride and social obligation. A tough one. But she's pulled it off. I recommend this novel ten-times over. I was due for a smart, well-written novel with depth of breadth and scope, and I got it in Discretion."
--Terry McMillan, author of I Almost Forgot About You
"A complicated story to be relished and enjoyed by complicated people, Discretion is a journey, no, a pilgrimage to the gulf between love and honor."
--Colin Channer, author of Providential
"Wonderful...it's so rare to read anything that deals with the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States in such a seamless way."
--Caryl Phillips, author of The Lost Child