Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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A powerful immigrant story of family, love, assimilation, and a provocative look inside the contemporary book business.

$22.95 $17.23

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What people are saying…

FINALIST for the 2012 NAACP Image Award in Literature!

Selected for the New York Times Editor’s Choice, October 2011

Boundaries is told in spare and transcendent prose. [. . .] As always, Nunez delivers a unique and riveting perspective on Caribbean life as well as immigrant life in general.”
The New York Amsterdam News

“Many moments of elegant, overarching insight bind the personal to the collective past.”
New York Times Book Review

“In Nunez’s latest, the author further explores immigrant life, a life where a hard-working woman can progress up the corporate ladder, buy an apartment in a soon-to-be trendy neighborhood, and still be plagued by outsider’s angst . . . A thoughtful literary novel exploring the shadows of cultural identity and the mirage of assimilation.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A quiet, sensitive portrait . . . This work covers a lot of ground, from mother-daughter and male-female relationships to the tensions between immigrants and the American born.”
Library Journal

“This bittersweet, sentimental novel will appeal to readers who’ve left home to make their path in the world.”
Publishers Weekly

“Nunez deftly dissects the immigrant experience in light of cultural traditions that impact family roles, professional obligations, and romantic opportunities.”

“Elizabeth Nunez continues to add to her impressive body of work with her new novel, Boundaries, the moving and spirited story of Caribbean-born Anna Sinclair’s efforts to find love and foster a successful career as a book editor, all the while caring for her aging parents. Ms. Nunez has always had the power to get to the essence of what makes human beings take right and wrong turns. With Boundaries, a reader will find that she, again, does not disappoint.”
—Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World

“Elizabeth 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

“Elizabeth Nunez has written a book so searing, so astute, so immediate to our times, it resurrects; it disrupts inevitability; it startles complacency; and over and over again, it invites healing to flourish.”
—Patricia Powell, author of The Fullness of Everything


Read Elizabeth Nunez’s contribution to “My Caribbean – 5 Vignettes,” which appeared in the November 10, 2013 issue of the New York Times.

Read Elizabeth Nunez’s contribution to “Are We Related?”

In an age of reality TV, a husband and wife cling to Victorian notions of privacy, though doing so threatens the life of the wife. Their daughter, Anna, yearns for her mother’s unguarded affection, and eventually learns there is value in restraint. But Anna, a Caribbean American immigrant, finds that lesson harder to accept when, eager to assimilate in her new country, she discovers that a gap yawns between her and American-born citizens.

The head of a specialized imprint at a major publishing house, Anna is soon challenged for her position by an ambitious upstart who accuses her of not really understanding American culture, particularly African American culture. Her job at stake, Anna turns for advice to her boyfriend Paul, a Caribbean American himself, who attempts to convince her that immigrants must accept limitations on their freedom in America.

Told in spare and transcendent prose, Boundaries is a riveting immigrant story, a fascinating look into the world of contemporary book publishing, a beautiful extension of the exploration of family dynamics that began in Nunez’s previous novel Anna In-Between, and a heart-warming love story.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Published: 9/27/11
  • IBSN: 9781617750335
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750724


ELIZABETH NUNEZ immigrated to the US from Trinidad after high school. She is the author of ten novels and the coeditor of the anthology Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad. Nunez received her PhD in English from New York University and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, where she teaches creative writing.

Nunez is cofounder of the National Black Writers Conference and was executive producer for the 2004 Emmy-nominated CUNY TV series, Black Writers in America. Her awards include the 2013 National Council for Research on Women Outstanding Trailblazer Award, the 2013 Caribbean American Distinguished Writer Award, the 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Lifetime Literary Award, and more.

Nunez’s works have been nominated for numerous awards, including the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award, the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Fiction, an International Dublin Literary Award, the Trinidad and Tobago One Book, One Community selection, New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Novel of the Year for Black Issues Book Review, an American Book Award, the Independent Publishers Book Award, and several others. Her titles have also received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Her novels Anna In-Between, Even in Paradise, Boundaries, Prospero’s Daughter, Grace, Discretion, and her memoir Not for Everyday Use are published by Akashic Books. Now Lila Knows is her latest novel.

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