Island of Silence

 • Winner of the China Times Million Yuan Literary Prize for the Novel (Jury Prize, 1994)

Island of Silence is a mesmerising psychological portrait of evasion. Chen-mian, a young Taiwanese woman with a troubled background, can’t bear the reality of her life, and creates an idealised fantasy existence – ‘the other Chen-mian’, a happily-married woman with a stable, loving family. Chen-mian is obsessed with islands, finding them safer and more contained than larger pieces of land. She travels to Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore, trying to find a secure hiding place. The lives of the two Chen-mians become more surreal and intertwined, and it becomes difficult to tell where reality ends and fantasy begins.

Originally published as 沈默之島 by China Times Publishing Co. (時報出版), Taiwan, Nov 1994, this is the first English edition of Island of Silence.

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Island of Silence

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"Su Wei-chen's Island of Silence is a provocative, perplexing exploration of the formation of one woman's selfhood…. In the same way that (the protagonist) Chen-mian uses fantasy to search for meaning in her own life, so too does Su Wei-chen offer up this novel as a fantasy-soaked island rife with the potential for meaning-making.” —Arielle Stambler, Cha, Asian Literary Journal


Su Wei-chen


Jeremy Tiang