- Paperback: 320 pages
- Published: 10/18/16
- IBSN: 9781617755323
- e-IBSN: 9781617755422
- IBSN: 9781617755477
- Genre: Fiction
The reissue of Elizabeth Nunez’s captivating novel Prospero’s Daughter, a brilliantly conceived retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
“The very title of Elizabeth Nunez’s gripping and richly imagined sixth novel, Prospero’s Daughter, distances her work from both the original Tempest (in which the daughter, Miranda, is perhaps the least developed of all Shakespearean heroines) and from the many postcolonial reactions to the play . . . Nunez, who is a master at pacing and plotting, explores the motivations behind Caliban’s outburst, hatching an entirely new story that is inspired by Shakespeare, but not beholden to him.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Masterful . . . simply wonderful . . . [an] exquisite retelling of The Tempest.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Absorbing . . . [Nunez] writes novels that resound with thunder and fury.”
“A story about the transformative power of love . . . Readers are sure to enjoy the journey.”
—Black Issues Book Review
Prospero’s Daughter is a captivating recreation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on a verdant Caribbean island during the height of tensions between the native population and British colonists. Using Shakespeare’s play as a template to address questions of race, class, and power, Nunez turns an intimate eye to an unlikely bond formed between a boy and a girl of disparate backgrounds.
When Peter Gardner’s ruthless medical genius leads him to experiment on his unwitting patients—often at the expense of their lives—he flees England, seeking an environ where his experiments might continue without scrutiny. He arrives with his three-year-old-daughter, Virginia, in Chacachacare, an isolated island off the coast of Trinidad, in the early 1960s.
Gardner considers the locals to be nothing more than savages. He assumes ownership of the home of a servant boy named Carlos, seeing in him a suitable subject upon whom to continue his amoral medical work. Nonetheless, he educates the boy alongside Virginia. As Virginia and Carlos grow and come of age together, they form a covert relationship that violates the outdated mores of colonial rule.
When Gardner unveils the pair’s relationship and accuses Carlos of a monstrous act, the investigation into the truth is left up to a curt, stonehearted British inspector, whose inquiries bring to light a horrendous secret. At turns epic and intimate, Prospero’s Daughter is one of the finest novels of the past two decades.
ELIZABETH NUNEZ is the award-winning author of nine novels and a memoir. Kirkus Reviews in a starred review calls Even in Paradise, her most recent novel, “A dazzling epic triumph.” The novel was an O, The Oprah Magazine and Essence selection. Nunez’s other novels are: Boundaries, Anna In-Between, Prospero’s Daughter, Bruised Hibiscus, Grace, Discretion, Beyond the Limbo Silence, and When Rocks Dance. Her awards include a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award, an American Book Award, and an Independent Publishers Book Award. Four of her novels were selected as New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her memoir Not for Everyday Use won the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Nunez received a Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from Trinidad and Tobago National Library Systems and her novel Anna In-Between was long-listed for an IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award. Nunez has also written several monographs of literary criticism and is coeditor of the anthology Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad. She is the cofounder of the National Black Writers Conference and executive producer of the NY Emmy-nominated CUNYTV series Black Writers in America. She holds a PhD degree from NYU and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York.