Book Review: Even in Paradise

Author: Elizabeth Nunez
Publisher: Akashic Books
ISBN: 978-1617754401
Genre: Fiction

Elizabeth Nunez’s Even in Paradise was a very satisfying read. I’m new to Elizabeth Nunez’s work. I’m always glad to discover a new-to-me writer from the Caribbean. I found it randomly in the library, and picked it up when I saw Marlon James’ blurb. Even in Paradise is a modern day King Lear recast in the Caribbean. The story is told from the perspective of Émile Baxter, an aspiring teacher and poet who falls and remains in love with Corrine Ducksworth, last and favored child of Peter Ducksworth, a rich Englishman who seeks and finds paradise at his grand house by the sea in Barbados. Peter Ducksworth’s other daughters, Glynis and Rebecca, pretty much scheme to kick to their father out of his house so they can build a five star restaurant. This is a well-wrought story set variously in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. I loved the story, the characters, the setting, and its constant references to other works of literature in the Caribbean.

Her prose was not elaborate and suffered a little from overwriting, but that did not take away from the story at all. And that is rare for me since prose style accounts for much of my enjoyment of a book.

The literature aspect of the narrative, though! So meta. And the fact that it gave so much Caribbean history. And I especially love it because usually, we just get one island at a time. But with this book we see the interconnectivity between islands—similarities and differences in culture, language, and mindset.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read it!

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