The Roar of Morning

Tip Marugg, trans. from the Dutch by Paul Vincent. Yale Univ., $16 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-300-20764-4
Marugg’s febrile novella, translated from the Dutch and set on Curaçao, is narrated by an aged poet who vacillates between coolly cynical reflections on island life and incandescent visions of apocalypse. The reclusive, suicidal narrator stays up late into the night drinking whiskey and beer, “Scottish and Dutch derivatives of barley,” while waiting for the dawn, which he has always associated with death. Stimulated by the alcohol, he spills forth memories from his youth, lurid reveries from a past bout of “moon wind fever,” and wonderful ethnographic descriptions, including one in which the women on mainland Venezuela ritualistically settle their arguments by donning special red dresses and publicly defaming each other. The narrator’s reflections culminate in a spectacular finale that conflates his own dissolution with the fiery end of the world. Throughout the nightlong monologue, there are sentences of compressed poetic power, as when he describes the “absurd spectacle” of birds flying deliberately to their death against a cliff face: “Birds die in the blue of morning.” However, there are also moments in which Marugg succumbs to stylistic excess: “the primeval sun... stores the gamut of human experience in its fiery womb which, filled to the brim, boils, splits and expels the charred excess in a blinding orgasm...” Then again, perhaps overheated prose is best suited to describe the murderous sun that will greet Marugg’s world-weary narrator at daybreak. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-300-21646-2
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