Prospero's Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez
A Novel

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A spellbinding new novel from acclaimed author Elizabeth Nunez, Prospero’s Daughter is a brilliantly conceived retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on a lush Caribbean island during the height of tensions between the native population and British colonists. Addressing questions of race, class, and power, it is first and foremost the story of a boy and a girl who come of age and violate the ultimate taboo.

Cut off from the main island of Trinidad by a glistening green sea, Chacachacare has few inhabitants besides its colony of lepers and a British doctor who fled England with his three-year-old daughter, Virginia. An amoral genius, Peter Gardner had used his talents to unsavory ends, experimenting, often with fatal results, on unsuspecting patients. Blackmailed by his own brother, Peter ends up on the small island as England’s empire is starting to crumble.

On Chacachacare, Peter experiments chiefly on the wild Caribbean flora–and on the dark-skinned orphan Carlos, whose home he steals. Though Peter considers the boy no better than a savage, he nonetheless schools the child alongside his daughter. But as Carlos and Virginia grow up under the same roof, they become deeply and covertly attached to one another.

When Peter discovers the pair’s secret and accuses Carlos of a heinous crime, it is up to a brusque, insensitive English inspector to discover the truth. During his investigation, a disturbing picture begins to emerge as a monstrous secret is finally drawn into the light.

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 December 18, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 338 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Once there, Gardner and his young daughter met the orphaned Carlos, who remained in his family’s house along with the housekeeper, Lucinda, and her daughter, Ariana.

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The New York Times

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It's essential to Nunez's vision in the novel, and perhaps for her native Trinidad as well, that everyone — Ariana, Virginia, even the reluctant Mumsford — work together to help Carlos.

Feb 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Prospero's Daughter: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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As the criminal charge is investigated, Nunez reveals Gardner to be the real criminal—not only toward Carlos, but also toward his native servant, Ariana (Ariel), and Virginia herself.

Oct 17 2005 | Read Full Review of Prospero's Daughter: A Novel

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Entertainment Weekly

In the early 1960s, on a small island off the coast of Trinidad, the malevolent Dr. Peter Gardner — banished from his native England for performing bizarre medical experiments — lives in exile with his daughter, Virginia.

Feb 24 2006 | Read Full Review of Prospero's Daughter: A Novel

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