Delia Mohammed gives Mr. Ni Win two bags for safe keeping. In them he finds her story of escape from the suffocations of her father and Caribbean island life into the nightmarish world of an illegal immigrant in America. Abandoned at customs by her lover, Trinidad, who turns out to be not at all what he seems, Delia is forced to fend for herself. She brings to the task both an acute intelligence and a naievety born of her greater familiarity with literature than with life. But if literature is no guide to the hazards of migrant life, it provides Delia with meaning and psychic protection, and the resonances, with King Lear
for instance, give the novel a wholly convincing depth.
When Delia fails to return for her bags, Mr Ni Win becomes the editor of her story. As editor he is moved by her refusal to be a victim and her determination to recreate herself in a hazardous and unfamiliar environment. Stalled in his own life, he is re-energised by her intense involvement with life and with literature, and his reflections on his role create a further important dimension with relation to the connections between writing and gender.N.D. Williams
is Guyanese and lives in New York. In 1976 his novel Ikael Torass
won the prestigious Casa de las Americas prize.