Set on the fictional island of Chacachacare, once a leper colony off the coast of Trinidad, Prospero’s Daughter teeters on the moment of independence from British rule. At the opening of the novel, Inspector Mumsford is assigned an unusual case: British scientist Peter Gardner, one of Chacachacare’s few residents, has accused his biracial servant of raping his teenage daughter, Virginia. Mumsford arrives at the island with the expectation of a cut-and-dry case, but the details aren’t so easy to assemble, and he leaves the island with more questions than answers.
“The winter wonderland he spoke about seemed to me a figment of his imagination, snow and sleet as unreal to me as the turrets and towers he described. The host of golden daffodils, sheep grazing on rolling green meadows, fantasies. But I had seen the ibis return home before twilight […] I had smelled the air after a rainfall, sodden with salt from the sea. I had heard thunder roar when lightening sliced the clouds in two. I had mistaken the songs of birds for the voices of humans singing. This was my world.”
Elizabeth Nunez was born in Trinidad and moved to the United States after graduating from high school. She is the author of several novels, including her most recent, Boundaries (2011). Nunez is a professor at Hunter College in New York.
Length: 336 pages
Set in: Trinidad
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