Discretion by Elizabeth Nunez

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Synopsis

From American Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Nunez, a powerful novel that explores an intricate lovers’ triangle, the human thirst for passion, and the myriad ways desire can betray those who have fallen under its spell.

Descended from warriors and raised by missionaries, Oufoula is a diplomat whose wealth and charm make him both publicly admired and envied. From a tragic childhood he emerged a man who leads a disciplined life of respect, married to Nerida, a woman he did not want to deceive. But the beautiful Marguerite, a Jamaican-born artist living in New York, makes him question what ideals he can live by, and which values he can betray.

For twenty years, Oufoula has carried a secret in his heart, a secret of his love for Marguerite. Though they have been separated for two decades by Marguerite’s call for propriety, Oufoula refuses to let his desire wane. When the lovers are at last reunited, the rekindling of their passion forces Oufoula to come to terms with the core of his character: Is he willing to sacrifice his marriage, his career, and the very foundations of the life he has struggled to create, all for the love of one woman?

Oufoula’s confession is adorned with the literature of his European education, and shrouded by the spirits and responsibilities of Africa. Caught between myth and reason, Oufoula reveals himself to be a soul trapped in every way, who, like Faust, would bargain with the devil for fulfillment . . . but was never offered any choice.

This is the portrait of a man who cannot be forgotten. A gripping, masterfully crafted tale of love, deceit, and the human compulsion for power, Discretion forces us to reconsider that ever-compelling question: At what price passion?


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Elizabeth Nunez

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Elizabeth Nunez is the author of Grace, Discretion (short-listed for the 2003 Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Fiction), Beyond the Limbo Silence, Bruised Hibiscus (winner of an American Book Award), and When Rocks Dance. She was born in Trinidad and emigrated to the United States after secondary school. Nunez is a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English at Medgar Evers College. She co-founded the National Black Writers Conference, is executive producer of the acclaimed television series Black Writers in America (nominated for a 2004 NY Emmy), and now chairs the PEN American Center Open Book committee. Named Author of the Year by the Go On Girl Book Club for 2002, Nunez is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including fellowships at the Yaddo and MacDowell colonies and the Paden Institute, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Black Business. She lives in Amityville, New York.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published March 25, 2009 by One World/Ballantine. 290 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Even the collapse of South Africa’s apartheid regime (Oufoula is sent in on a mission for the UN) has small significance compared to Oufoula’s lifelong passion for the eternally out-of-reach Marguerite—who, eventually, divorces her husband, allowing Oufoula to take his friend’s advice at last.

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Publishers Weekly

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Her nonjudgmental exploration of the simple/complex nature of marriage, love and fidelity enriches her portrayal of Oufoula, allowing the reader to feel sympathy for a decent man who cannot deny his passion.

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