ND Williams is another Guyanese novelist writing abroad, but whereas D’Aguiar writes from London, he is based in New York. His new novel, The Silence Of Islands, is about another kind of escape and slavery. Delia, an Indo-Caribbean woman from a small island is also on the run, an illegal alien without a green card in the US. In this new country, a ‘runaway’ who carries her bags with her wherever she goes, Delia is determined to find herself and search out ‘the text of a new life’.
Like D’Aguiar’s novel, The Silence Of Islands is ‘a rinsing of the memory bowl,’ as Delia remembers her girlhood in her island, her engagement with its education system, her friends and teachers and the people she has encountered in New York, all runaways too, living like ‘too many strangers, with too little room for love to breathe.’
The alienation and loneliness of these insecure islanders in a huge city of foreign ways creates a terse and uncomfortable novel, which is executed with an impressive detachment, reflecting the starving hearts of the exiles. These two novels attest again that the writers of Guyana carry a brilliance which is unique within such a small and world-scattered population.