The Roar of Morning

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.

Tip Marugg
Original title
De morgen loeit weer aan

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
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.
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