-- O, the Oprah Magazine , 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
Named a Must-Read Book by the New York Post
"An epic tale of family betrayal and manipulation couched in superbly engaging prose and peopled with deftly drawn characters. Read more...
--O, the Oprah Magazine, 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
Named a Must-Read Book by the New York Post
"An epic tale of family betrayal and manipulation couched in superbly engaging prose and peopled with deftly drawn characters. In a story structure as rhythmic as the ebb and flow of the water surrounding Trinidad and Barbados, this revisiting of the classic story of King Lear becomes a subtle, organic exploration of politics, class, race, and privilege. A dazzling, epic triumph."
--Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
" Narrator] Emile remarks on parallels to King Lear repeatedly, but there is much more to unpack here. The issue of racism is woven throughout, as are regional problems such as access to Barbados's beaches and poverty in Jamaica's Tivoli Gardens. This is also a celebration of the arts, culture, and natural beauty of the islands. Shakespeare's work is a tragedy, but for Emile 'the future shimmers before him] full of wondrous possibilities.' Nunez treats her source material with a deft touch, making this story impressive in its own right."
"Nunez's textured and engaging novel explores familial discord, along with questions of kinship and self-identity....With a nod to King Lear, Nunez crafts an introspective tale as her vividly drawn characters navigate complications of heritage, race, and loyalty."
"Even if you're not familiar with King Lear, William Shakespeare's great tragedy, you will still enjoy Even in Paradise by Elizabeth Nunez...The author's drama heads to a new place: the Caribbean. We meet Peter Ducksworth, a widower of English ancestry, who retires to beatific Barbados...Ducksworth s plan to divide his land evenly among his three daughters goes horribly awry when he cuts off his youngest. Having been deceived by the older two, he sees his dreams of a heaven on earth turn hellish. Nunez inspires with this one."
"Nunez has written a Caribbean reimagining of King Lear that adds colonialism and racism to the story of three sisters, the men they love and their battle over the deed to their father's beloved property. Themes of greed, jealousy and resentment play out after their father confuses flattery with love and disowns his favorite daughter."
"Novelist Nunez, who tackled The Tempest in her 2006 novel, Prospero s Daughter, here offers a retelling of King Lear. Both novels feature a cast of multicultural characters and a Caribbean setting."
Peter Ducksworth, a Trinidadian widower of English ancestry, retires to Barbados, believing he will find an earthly paradise there. He decides to divide his land among his three daughters while he is alive, his intention not unlike that of King Lear, who hoped "That future strife/May be prevented now." But Lear made the fatal mistake of confusing flattery with love, and so does Ducksworth. Feeling snubbed by his youngest daughter, Ducksworth decides that only after he dies will she receive her portion of the land. In the meantime, he gives his two older daughters their portions, ironically setting in motion the very strife he hoped to prevent.
Beautifully written in elegant prose, this is a novel about greed, resentment, jealousy, betrayal, and romantic love in the postcolonial world of the Caribbean, giving us a diverse cast of characters of African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian/Lebanese, and English ancestry.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-01
- Reviewer: Staff
Nunez’s (Not for Everyday Use) novel riffs on a classic Shakespearean tale, but her handling of the setting and contemporary elements lift it above mere pastiche. Émile Baxter is the son of the most famous surgeon of Trinidad and, as it happens, is of partial African descent. His best friend Albert Glazal is from a wealthy Trinidadian mercantile family, whose Christian Syrian-Lebanese ancestors moved to the islands generations ago. Émile’s life also intersects that of Peter Ducksworth and his three daughters, a rich family of English stock: the eldest, Glynis, is Albert’s fiancée, while Émile is drawn to Ducksworth’s youngest, the vivacious Corinne. Glynis and Rebecca, the middle sister, are schemers, wanting their father’s land and his beautiful house for their own real estate plans. Émile remarks on parallels to King Lear repeatedly, but there is much more to unpack here. The issue of racism is woven throughout, as are regional problems such as access to Barbados’s beaches and poverty in Jamaica’s Tivoli Gardens. This is also a celebration of the arts, culture, and natural beauty of the islands. Shakespeare’s work is a tragedy, but for Émile “the future shimmers before full of wondrous possibilities.” Nunez treats her source material with a deft touch, making this story impressive in its own right. (Apr.)