Even in Paradise


Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Akashic Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.0 inches | 0.7 pounds

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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.


"King Lear in the Caribbean. Nunez's latest novel follows widower and Barbados retiree Peter Ducksworth, who tests the love and loyalty of his three daughters. Like Lear, things fall apart for Ducksworth when he fails to realize that his youngest daughter truly loves him while the older two are simply using flattery to obtain their inheritance. It all takes place on sumptuous white Caribbean beaches and lush gardens."
--New York Post

"Nunez's ninth novel is a recasting of King Lear, with race as the wild card in this classic tale of familial dysfunction. Trinidadian Peter Ducksworth--white but nevertheless 'Trin to the bone'--retires with his three daughters to Barbados. He soon feels he has been betrayed by his favourite daughter, Corinne. As punishment, he gives his two older daughters their share of an inheritance now but makes Corinne wait until his death to receive her share."
--Toronto Star

"As in the Lear tale, this modern-day familial drama centers on mistrust, greed and betrayals that are triggered by power, status and property. Along the way, issues of race, class, and other cultural traits within island societies serve as relevant ingredients to the chain of events affecting the Ducksworth family. It all makes Even in Paradise as much a fascinating read about social and economic complexities on these islands as it is an acutely human portrait of family dysfunction and destruction."
--Insights Magazine

"An intersection between a retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear and a story about modern-day racism, poverty, and culture in the Caribbean...An epic story that still feels intimate to the reader."
--Book Riot, One of 7 Small Press Books to Read in April

"Nunez has written a very readable...engaging novel that deals with big themes worthy of good storytelling."
--New York Journal of Books

"A compelling novel about greed, resentment, jealousy, betrayal, and romantic love in the post-colonial world of the Caribbean, and featuring a diverse cast of deftly crafted characters of African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian/Lebanese, and English ancestry, Even In Paradise is another superbly written work from the pen of Elizabeth Nunez and very highly recommended."
--Midwest Book Review

"Even as Émile vividly describes the colorful surface of Caribbean culture--its beautiful women, delicious food, vibrant music and sandy beaches--he continually reminds us of what Lear himself finally sees: Appearances can be deceiving. Ditto this book. It can feel at times like a light beach read made for a Caribbean vacation. But it also continually journeys inland...Hence Nunez's frequent, deftly inserted lessons involving Caribbean history. As her title suggests, one can never escape that history, even when sipping rum on a hilltop mansion overlooking paradise."
--Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"[Nunez's] prose has a timeless quality, abundant in detail and vivid description, and her rich evocation of culture, place, and identity make this an easy and compelling read--the Caribbean islands of Trinidad, Barbados, and Jamaica are just as much characters as any of the people in the novel...Nunez draws the Lear comparisons so expertly, you'll find yourself wondering if the Caribbean wasn't the original setting for this story after all...Even in Paradise is a fast and thought-provoking read, as well as being a great juicy drama to dive into just as the weather gets warmer."

"In her latest novel, Even in Paradise, acclaimed author Elizabeth Nunez reimagines Shakespeare's King Lear set in the Caribbean. She transforms the classic tragic tale of betrayal and manipulation within a family into a more political meditation on race, class, and privilege featuring a multiracial cast of characters."
--Hello Beautiful, #BlackWomenRead: 17 Books by Black Women You Need In Your Life This Spring

"Fragile father-daughter and father-son bonds, pernicious sibling rivalry, the complexities of race relations: combine that with a Shakespearean element, and there's the formula for a rich and engaging story. But take note: there is nothing formulaic about this powerful and insightful novel that transports readers to the modern-day Caribbean, where loyalties are tested, truth can become obscured, and antiquated notions can lacerate relationships."
--Foreword Reviews

"Another engaging novel by an accomplished author who retells the story of King Lear in a Caribbean landscape with racial tensions playing out alongside the classic narrative of greed and parent/child relations....[The novel] is structured with interesting and layered plots, but what I like best is [Nunez's] exquisite language detailing Caribbean landscapes and people....I strongly recommend this book, especially to those who love Caribbean stories."
--Me, You, and Books

"Even in Paradise takes a centuries-old story and makes it modern, fresh, and relevant. Elizabeth Nunez injects lush detail and Caribbean flare throughout her writing. The result is a story whose framework may be familiar, but whose unfurling is gripping and alluring and whose voice is truly unique. A perfect spring read."
--Chronic Bibliophilia

"Even in Paradise is Caribbean drama as grand epic. Nunez, always a master of unexpected contrasts, does it here again. A story told on a huge scale that still manages to be achingly personal and intimate."
--Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

"The Caribbean is so blessed to have Elizabeth Nunez writing from and for us! This novel is pan-Caribbean and multiracial, crossing the West Indies with Caribbean characters ethnically originating in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Even in Paradise adds another dimension to how we read Shakespeare's King Lear while celebrating the cultural institutions in the region that have made writers like Nunez possible."
--Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning

Praise for Elizabeth Nunez:

"Nunez is one of the finest and most necessary voices in contemporary American and Caribbean fiction."
--Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

"Nunez has always had the power to get to the essence of what makes human beings take right and wrong turns."
--Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World