Tip Marugg

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.

‘Every detail, every digression is purposeful, the subject matter significant, the style perfect. I would like to quote as much of this novel as I possibly can, to read it over and over again right away. Such a novel deserves a magnificent reception.’

Vrij Nederland

The final chapter brings an uncommon climax; the hallucinatory, apocalyptic images in which Marugg describes the swelling roar of the morning are breathtaking – I would describe this, without hesitation, as one of the most gripping chapters in all Dutch literature.

De Groene Amsterdammer


With fading recognition I look at the familiar things around me: the wardrobe full of clothes, most of which I have never worn; the big curtain over the window, lined with thick material to keep out the light when I sleep all morning; the small, colourful vase that I have been looking at for twenty years and which every Wednesday I am afraid the cleaning woman will smash, as she has done with most of the glassware; the orange rug next to my bed, on which I sometimes let one of the dogs spend the night when it is ill or sad. The feeling of oneness with these things has vanished – it is as if they already belong to others. I light a cigarette. The smoke I exhale is sucked up to the ceiling by the air conditioning and then snakes lazily back down the wall. Outside I can hear the crowing of the cocks. The roar of morning is here once more and is not to be trusted.


Tip Marugg

Silvio Alberto Marugg, known as Tip, was born Willemstad, Curaçao, in 1923, and spent two years in Venezuela as a boy. In 1942 he joined the military, later becoming an officer. After the war he worked for Shell in Curaçao until 1973. He wrote his three novels at long intervals, also publishing a…

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De morgen loeit weer aan (1988). Fiction, 138 pages.
Words: 36,991

Full English translation available

Themes: classic


De Bezige Bij

Van Miereveldstraat 1
NL - 1071 DW Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 305 98 10
Fax: +31 20 305 98 24

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