Cover image for Bruised hibiscus : a novel
Bruised hibiscus : a novel
Nunez, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Seattle, WA : Seal Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West, 2000.
Physical Description:
286 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When a fisherman pulls the body of a white woman from the sea onto the island of Trinidad, the assumed motivation for the murder is "man-woman business." As the news spreads, the rage that surfaces - born of generations of colonialism, sexual oppression, and class disparity - is the catalyst for the reunion of two childhood friends.

Rosa and Zuela were inseparable for the summer of their 12th year. After they witnessed an unspeakable act through the leaves of a hibiscus bush, however, shame divided them for 20 years. Now, upon hearing about the murdered woman, memories of the horror they witnessed resurface and bring Rosa and Zuela together in a desperate search for liberation.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Against a backdrop of 1950s Trinidad, Nunez (When Rocks Dance) excavates and reshapes real-life incidents in island history, particularly a gruesome murder, to construct a thoughtful critique of race, gender and class relations in that Caribbean land. The narrative focuses on two women, both native Trinidadians, one of English descent, childhood friends grown apart only to be reunited after the body of a slain white woman washes up in Freeman's Bay. Rosa and Zuela meet again by chance as each makes a pilgrimage to an Our Lady of Fatima shrine in response to the murder. The suspicions, hate and resentments unleashed in the region by the discovery of Paula Inge's body are multiplied when her husband, an Indian doctor, is fingered as the killer. According to Rosa's oppressive husband, Cedric, the murder resulted from a ``man-woman'' problem, but by exploring the histories and motivations of her principal characters, Nunez relates the killing to wider social issues, uncovering the intricacies of racial hate and mistrust that had brewed for generations in colonial Trinidad, perversely manifesting in self-hate and acts of sexual dominance. The author's prose is seductively fluid throughout, and her diggings into the creolized landscape of Trinidad are at times fascinating, but her depictions of Chinese and African Caribbean men often embody the very myopia that she takes to task elsewhere. Her casting of a number of male characters as rapists-suffering from castration anxiety, to boot-only subverts her otherwise insightful and lyrical investigation into postcolonial patriarchy. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved