[If] Boundaries, Elizabeth Nunez’s latest novel… seems familiar, that’s because it reflects the current state of affairs [in publishing], which one black novelist recently called “seg-book-gation.” If it also seems outlandish, it’s because of Nunez’s deft straddling of realism and satire… There are many moments of elegant, overarching insight that bind the personal to the collective past..[and the story] flames out in a wickedly gripping climax.
—New York Times Book Review, October 9, 2011
“If I wore a hat, I’d tip it to novelist Elizabeth Nunez. I was awestruck by 2000’s Bruised Hibiscus (Seal Press), her American Book Award-winning story about the beautiful friendship of two Trinidadian girls bound by an ugly secret they share… With Boundaries (Akashic Books), her eighth work, the storyteller is in fine form… This time around Nunez sets her sights on the issue of immigrant assimilation… Nunez’s latest effort is timely and provocative—and it’s written with such vivid prose that, despite the bittersweet ending, you’ll step away from this refreshing take on contemporary publishing with a smile.”
—Essence, October 2011
About the Book
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 heartwarming love story.
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