Friday, October 14, 2011
Nunez deftly explores family strife and immigrant identity in her vivid latest. When Anna Sinclair, a New York City book editor, takes a vacation to her parents' home in the Caribbean, she discovers that her mother, Beatrice, has advanced breast cancer. Beatrice rejects all suggestions that she be treated in the U.S.—she believes that, as a black woman, she'll receive second-rate care—leaving Anna and her father, John, to tread lightly between respecting Beatrice's wishes and steering her toward what is best for her.
As a prominent black family on a largely white island, the Sinclairs are used to straddling two worlds, and Anna's mother's fears cause Anna to examine her thoughts about race. Fiction best achieves the universal through the specific. It is by telling stories that are plausible, about characters who are believable, that the writer eases us in to exploring the many facets of the human condition, Anna thinks at one point. Nunez meets these guidelines and more with expressive prose and convincing characters that immediately hook the reader. (Sept.)
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