Boundaries by Elizabeth Nunez

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

“Slaveowners in America were torturing the Africans they enslaved for reading, but the British had discovered the hard way of truth of the maxim – Nature abhors a vacuum. Fill their minds with your stories and they will adore you; leave their minds free to roam and they will hatch plans to destroy you.”

In Boundaries, published by Akashic Books in 2011, prolific Trinidadian writer Elizabeth Nunez continues the story of Anna Sinclair, the protagonist of Nunez’s 2009 novel Anna In-Between,  also published by Akashic. Boundaries, the author’s eighth novel, carries on (and, arguably, deepens) the examination of divisions between worlds that its preceding novel broached. Anna, the editor of Equiano magazine, prepares her Manhattan flat for her parents’ arrival, readying with some trepidation to receive and house her ailing mother. Though much of the novel focuses on the relationship between Anna and her mother, the fourty year old immigrant daughter is considered from multiple perspectives: as a struggling editor beset by challenges of content and style; as a woman seeking to negotiate her romantic involvement, as an individual of bivalent and intersecting realities.

A work that marks itself as triumphantly unafraid to pose the murky questions that surround identity, Boundaries is spotlighted by Kirkus Reviews as “a thoughtful literary novel exploring the shadows of cultural identity and the mirage of assimilation.” It stands as a laudable addition to the considerable body of fiction already produced by Nunez, and establishes itself as a serious, gracefully told story of the perils and pleasures that dwell within self-exploration.