Now Lila Knows

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Caribbean professor Lila Bonnard arrives in Vermont for a short-term teaching position and is forced to confront the terrible legacy of American (in)justice

"The racial politics of a small town in Vermont, as seen through Lila’s eyes, provides an illuminating counterplay between Caribbean and American Blackness."
Publishers Weekly

"As a portrait of Lila's political and racial awakening, the novel is a grand success."
Kirkus Reviews

“In Now Lila Knows, Elizabeth Nunez has crafted an indelible saga, one that is both of the times and timeless; both personal and universal. This beautifully, masterfully written novel is at once a compelling love story, a crucial exploration of the contemporary immigrant experience, and a trenchant critique of American racism.”
—Mitchell S. Jackson, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of The Residue Years

Lila Bonnard has left her island home in the Caribbean to join the faculty as a visiting professor at Mayfield College in a small Vermont town. On her way from the airport to Mayfield, Lila witnesses the fatal shooting of a Black man by the police. It turns out that the victim was a professor at Mayfield, and was giving CPR to a white woman who was on the verge of an opioid overdose.

The two Black faculty and a Black administrator in the otherwise all-white college expect Lila to be a witnessin the case against the police. Unfortunately, Lila fears that in the current hostile political climate against immigrants of color she may jeopardize her position at the college by speaking out, and her fiancé advises her to remain neutral.

Now Lila Knows is a gripping story that explores our obligation to act when confronted with the unfair treatment of fellow human beings. A page-turner with universal resonance, this novel will leave readers rethinking the meaning of love and empathy.