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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Roar of Morning

Tip Marugg

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To purchase The Roar of Morning

Title: The Roar of Morning
Author: Tip Marugg
Genre: Novel
Written: 1988 (Eng. 2000)
Length: 130 pages
Original in: Dutch
Availability: The Roar of Morning - US
The Roar of Morning - UK
The Roar of Morning - Canada
The Roar of Morning - India
Auch Vögel sterben im Morgenblau - Deutschland
  • Dutch title: De morgen loeit weer aan
  • Translated and with an Afterword by Paul Vincent

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Our Assessment:

B+ : appealingly intense

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 31/8/2015 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Throughout the nightlong monologue, there are sentences of compressed poetic power (.....) However, there are also moments in which Marugg succumbs to stylistic excess" - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Roar of Morning is an intense short novel, its nameless narrator drinking and musing late one night, from 1:30 in the morning until about 3:00, towards what by then seems an inescapable conclusion, a final dissolution.
       The narrator lives in relative isolation on his (and the author's) native island of Curaçao. He admits that he's accused of "being a recluse", that he has: "removed myself from all contact with the world in this sparsely populated western part of the island, not even allowing a telephone in my hermitage" -- but, as he amusingly suggests:

(M)y lair can't be that hard to find, because I get more visitors than I would like.
       At this hour he's largely on his own however, with his thoughts and dog ("loyal bitch Fonda") at his feet, and bottles of whisky and beer at hand. He seem to be able to hold his liquor, not drinking himself blind-drunk, but he certainly appreciates the effects of the alcohol:
An adult can never become free again -- he can never shake off the impure things that have attached themselves to his life with their suckers. There is no way back. But I drink, and in my brief intoxication alow myself to be carried back to a period when my life was not yet withered.
       He shares some memories, from as recently as earlier that day to as far back as his childhood. He recalls some twenty months spent as a schoolboy in nearby Venezuela -- so close its visible from where he now lives when the air is clear --, a time when he: "learned to love solitude and books", and recalls a few events that made a strong impression on him.
       The present weighs heavily, too, and he keenly observes it, his reverie tinged by a quiet melancholy, yet also with a sharp, even cynical edge coming to the fore at times. He doesn't sound entirely resigned, but there's that, too. This isn't just any night, it is a special night:
     There has never been a night so perfect for undergoing a cleansing baptism. Or for dying.
       He recounts both the mundane and the spectacular. The explosion of a star that happened 170,000 years ago is visible with the naked eye, he heard on the news that afternoon -- but he's just as aware of the neon lighting on the houses all along the road.
       He mentions his nightly routine early on, including that:
The last item on my daily schedule is to take the pistol out of its hiding place in the wardrobe and place it on the table to the right of my bed.
       He doesn't explain whether he does so for protection or there's another reason, but it's not hard to guess that Chekhov's gun-principle applies .....
       Marugg intentionally overwrites -- but generally to good effect, and especially in the final chapter: culmination here is beautifully presented, beginning with the chapter's opening words:
     The days and years have all been lived and have crumbled to dust. I am cocooned by the final night, uncertain of what heavenly bliss and hellish pains lie on the horizon.
       The cocks will begin to crow at the 3:00 AM daybreak, and the final chapter is, in part, a countdown to that. As the time ticks down he imagines the entire South American continent consumed by a massive conflagration, spectacular end-of-days scenes that alternate with recollections from the past as the story builds to its necessary, terrible conclusion.
       The Roar of Morning is a dark little novel, and a powerful short personal testament, inexorably moving towards a conclusion that, even as one can see it coming, manages to shock. A fine work.

- M.A.Orthofer, 11 October 2015

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The Roar of Morning: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Curaçaoan author Tip Marugg (1923-2006) wrote three novels in Dutch.

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