The Roar of Morning
The most Latin American of Dutch writers
Tip Marugg was the hermit of Curaçao, an island in the Netherlands Antilles, and the author of a small body of exceptionally fine literary work. His novels show the touch of a master stylist who transforms his themes – death, night, the grim fate of the alcoholic, and loneliness – into unparalleled literature.
In Weekend Pilgrimage (1957) the first-person narrator veers in his car on to the road’s shoulder while drunk and reflects back on his life in one long interior monologue. The protagonist of In de straten van Tepalka (In the Streets of Tepalka, 1967) relives his experiences in fantasies and nightmares as he lies on his deathbed in a hospital.
In Marugg’s most important novel, The Roar of Morning (1988), a man sits on his doorstep, armed with a bottle of whisky, waiting for daybreak. He observes nature, thinking about Kierkegaard, his childhood in Venezuela, and his life on Curaçao, where he feels out of place as a white Antillean, and he has feverish dreams about women. The novel contains one of the most beautiful scenes in world literature, in which the narrator watches scores of birds in flight crashing into a steep rock face and dying, a daily event. The passage is unforgettable.