The roar of morning by Tip Marugg

The Roar of Morning by Tip Marugg

Curaçao fiction

Original title – De morgen loeit weer aan

Translator – Paul Vincent

Source – Personal copy

I move to the Caribean tonight and the most well-known writer from Curaçao Tip Marugg. The small island just off the coast of Latin America. Has a number of writers. I picked this up as it was part of the Margellos world republic of letters book collection. It is a collection I have reviewed books from a number of times and one that to say they pick books from around the world always seem to find gems. This was written later in the writer’s life he had written a number of novels he is described on the dutch Wikipedia page as different from his flamboyant friend fellow island writer Boeli Van Leeuwen as he was more melancholic, more focused on the individual. he has a touch of Latin American magic realism in this book.

A dearth of drink obliges me to go back inside to replenish my supply of Dutch courage, but soon I’m back in my old place under the neon strip, on the same lukewarm paving slab, flanked by my fresh provisions.

At moments like this, when there is not a breath of wind, the night speaks with a chorus of primeval voices; the vegetation in my garden pats, as if the densly planted bushes were gasping for breath; the indju tree moans; the tiny, nameless creatures that forage for food only when the it is pitch dark make rustling noises, far off, an exhausted goat wth its head caught in a fence utters a death rattle

A wonderfully evocative passage of being sst in the dark of night.

A man sits Scottish whiskey in one and Dutch beer in the other he is a low point of his life. In fact, the fact he has those drinks in each hand is stopping him using the pistol that is nearby. His only companion at this time is his dog. He has decided this is the night and morning to end it all in what he calls the roar of the morning, He has seen birds dive to the death in the cliffs. He spends this time reflecting on his past and what caught him there. He reflects on his sexual awakening. The time he spent on the mainland where he discovered books ass the clock ticks. Later he recalls an old man with a huge sexual appetite that used to get all the younger women around due to his position. The time draws towards the morning his mind drifts as the booze starts to affect his mind and he is one of those drinkers that see the dark dogs when in the pit of drink he imagines the world around him in a fire.

I Spent my tenth and most of my elevnenth year – probably the period in your life when you see and hear most new things – on the mainland with my Venezuelan uncle. The man was neither Venezuelan nor even my real uncle, But I  called him that because he lived on the mainland and was married to a Venezuelan woman. He  was an odd charact3er, but I guess he meant well. In early of the oil industry he had worked for She;;, but after spending some time among the oil tanks that mushroomed on the north side of the harbourhe felt a vocation to become a minister. He went to Europe to study and returned a few years later, not as a protestant minister but as an evangelist belonging to some obscure sect obsessed with showing mankind the error of its was and threatening hellfire and damnation

This one event left a mark deep in his life

There is a podcast called Nocturne that deals with the wee hours here it’s the early morning between 1.30 and 3.00 madrugada, as the Spanish call it those dark hours when the mind can wander and one is maybe at our lowest ebb is caught wonderfully here our main character is a man that is caught between his Calvinist upbringing and island life in his way. of life make him A man in torment on the verge of suicide is like Lowrys character Geoffrey in under the volcano a man caught up in the bottle. The sexual awakening at times reminded me of Marquez’s works in the description of sex. This is a brooding work of one mans life caught in those two hours as he drinks and thinks back. As he says there is nothing better than a glass of Scottish and one of Dutch is maybe the way he is caught between two places. Another gem from Margellos world republic and another new country for the blog.


Memory at bay by Évelyne Trouillot


Memory at bay by Évelyne Trouillot

Haitian fiction

Original title – La mémoire aux abois

Translator – Paul Curtis Daw

Source – review copy

Mwen tap rainmin konnin, date and jou ‘map mouri … Yeah! Wyclef Jean misie Refugee, Muzion If you had 24 hours to live, and you knew you were going to die what would you do? [Wyclef:] Yo, if I had left it just 24 hours to live I would go see my mother to tell her she me well high, her son, she can be proud Let me addresses thief, murderer She not loose, for that, I ‘ will kiss A kiss on the forehead and then in the street I’m returned two hours and a half, I called Jerry Duplessis J’dit to come get me, m’deposer Among my Mam’selle in her dress is so niceShe said ‘Wyclef, will eat at TapTap.’ ‘I said j’pas can because tomorrow j’serai not! J’viens only thank you from the bottom of heart Because with everything I did you would spend the m’quitter you, go elsewhere You’re a beautiful woman, no need to cry when I’m gonna go, you can t’remarier Mwen tap rainmin konnin, date and jou ‘map mouri … [Chorus:] And if you had 24 hours to live Would you sing? Would you dance? Would you cry? Or said: oh no I wanna leave me or said oh no I wanna go away! Imposs!

This is a translation of 24 heures a Vivre ,24 hours to live from a ep wyclef Jean did for Haiti he ran for president himself in 2010 .I connect the line I would see my mother as this is what the daughter in this book can’t do.


I was contacted by Paul the translator of this book as he had seen on the blog, I had reviewed two other books from Haiti and would I like to review this one. Evelyne Trouillot is a member of a literary family, her uncle was a historian and her brother Lyonel is a well-known novelist and her other brother is a leading Creole scholar. This book won the Prix Carbet a prize award to new voices and books from the Caribbean.

I head home with the smell of the old woman’s wthered flesh on my fingers. The vision of her form sprawled limply on the bed like a nameless doll accompanies me through the streets of Paris, Why had they added that room to my list ?

“whatever you do, mademoiselle, don’t reveal he name no one should know who she is. Besides we have no official confirmation. I thought you were only a child when you left your country

She is given the woman to look after thinking she wouldn’t remember her own past having left as a child!!

Memory at bay is both the story of two woman one an elderly widow, the former wife of the dictator who ran Haiti for the middle part of the 20th century Papa Doc a name that rings of blood and death. She is lying in a hospital bed dying as she does reliving her life. She is being watched over by a young nurse who escaped from Haiti to France and became a nurse, but along the way she lost her own mother to the regime of the woman she is looking after. As the book unfolds, we see both woman’s story told as we see both sides of this brutal regime. As the brutal years of the Papa doc reign are seen from the wife of the leader and the everybody in the form of  a mother and daughter who have to live under the regime.The daughter escapes and becomes the nurse but before she loses her mother she meets the old woman and a young woman and wife of the leader.

On my return to France, while I struggled to recover from my fatigue, the disturbing dreams began their nightly visitations. Soon afterward, as if to give substance to the macabre atomsphere that surrounded me, I first enter that woman’s room and encountered a face that was so recognizable, despite the ravages inflicted by exile and old age. That face today epitomizes for me all the horrors od a regime that left its grim mark on my native country

She met her as a schoolgirl and even now knows the faces of the old lady even thou she is losing her mind.

This is a book about what is memory, What is history as we see two sides of the same time told. Can we forgive those who do us harm ? What happens when we have to care for those who may have been connected to those that do use harm this young woman has all this on her mind as she cares for the older dying woman at times she wants to kill her. This is a powerful look at Haiti’s past, I remember the downfall of his sons regime baby doc when I was younger and the telling at that time of the brutal nature of his fathers regime. Evelyne has strung together two main characters and narraf=tives that bring both the overview of what happened but also the inner workings of day to day life.

June 2021


%d bloggers like this: