Even in Paradise
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
--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] 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 [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."
"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
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.
man: he loved what his father loved and his father was pleased with him. Georges Glazal, Albert’s father, belonged to a long line of Syrian Lebanese families who were among the last immigrants to Trinidad during the colonial era. Syrians, we called them, whether they were from Syria or Lebanon, Lebanon having been part of Syria when the first immigrants arrived on the island. Almost all of them were Orthodox Maronite Christians fleeing persecution from the ever-widening spread of Islam across
the kitchen cabinets was a bottle of homemade pepper sauce. She was a true Caribbean girl—no one could deny her that—a woman who loved the ocean and the sand, the scent of the salt-filled sea air on a windy day, the heat rising from the hot pavement after the rain, the pulsating rhythms of calypso and steel band music. A woman who could run barefooted on hot asphalt. I had seen her put salt on a green mango, swish the pulp of acidic tamarinds in her mouth without flinching. I should have known
not seen Bob do this. In fact, she was not even on the deck at the time Ducksworth was supposedly thrown over the railing. Her father was hungry and she had gone to the kitchen to get something for him to eat, leaving Bob with him on the deck. She was about to warm up a pastelle when she heard Bob’s footsteps along the corridor. He was walking fast, she said, as if he were in a hurry. Like he was running away from something. She popped her head out of the kitchen and called out to him. He did not
“Yes, they are in love.” But I wasn’t confident this was true, at least not as far as Glynis was concerned. 26 Everything went more quickly than I had anticipated. Two days after the funeral, Glynis announced that Douglas and Rebecca would be living with her in her father’s house. “It’s ours now anyway,” Glynis said. Glynis had invited me for afternoon tea at the house. I was supposed to leave the day after the funeral, but Albert had asked me to stay until the end of the week. The will
teacher makes? How do you think you will support a family with a secondary school teacher’s salary? Don’t count on me. I’ll see you through university, but you’re on your own after that.” I met Albert Glazal on the first day of class at the university and we quickly became best friends. I envied him for he had the sort of relationship with his father that I wished I had. My father drove me to the airport, helped me unload my luggage from the trunk of the car, shook my hand, and drove away,