‐ Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing ‐

For The Love Of My Name

Written by Calvin Bowen for Sunday Gleaner on no date provided

THIS LATEST NOVEL BY THE TRINIDADIAN writer has been praised as ‘one of the most remarkable novels which have come out of the Caribbean in the last decade’. Set in the mythical island of Maya it tells a terrible, yet poignant, tale of a country and a people caught in the power of a megalomaniac leader who brought nothing but pain and suffering to his people.

Maya is the author’s creation, but it is obviously a thinly disguised fictional representation of events in Guyana, with the central character, Robert Augustus Devonish, being strongly reminiscent of Linden Forbes Burnham, who had been President of Guyana for many years.

Sharp detail
The rise to power of Mr. Devonish, his autocratic rule, the aura of mystery and mysticism that surrounded his regime, all are vividly depicted in the novel. The hardships which the Mayans had to endure and the great relief that came with his death are recounted in sharp detail. A reference to the awful tragedy of the Jim Jones cult, which established itself in the Guiana hinterland and which ended in a mass suicide that shocked the world, removes the novel from the realm of fiction to the realm of stark reality.

There is a dreamlike, almost poetic quality to the writing in some passages of the novel, evocative of the mysticism of the events being described - a quality that invites comparison with the work of the distinguished Guyanese writer Wilson Harris. The flavour of East Indian culture, so pronounced in Guyana with its very large population of descendents of Indian immigrants, gives the book a special appeal. The description of traditional dishes, the peculiarities of speech, are graphic portrayals of the way of life of the Mayans, giving credence and authenticity to the narrative. For the Love of my Name can indeed take its place among the important works of Caribbean writers - a tale of tyranny and oppression, of love and hate, of hope and despair, brilliantly told and powerfully written.

This is a review of For The Love Of My Name

View this book
‐ Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing ‐