the ledge files
the ledge - nl - uk
Frank Martinus Arion
publisher: De Bezige Bij, 1973

translated as:
Double Play: The Story of an Amazing World Record
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1998
translation: Paul Vincent

refered to by:
My Sister, the Negro
Cola Debrot

Weekend Pilgrimage
Tip Marugg

Rock of Offense
Boeli van Leeuwen

Midnight's Children
Salman Rushdie

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The title of Arion's large and powerful Caribbean novel refers to an epic open-air game of dominoes, which lasts all afternoon and into the evening. Though it is ostensibly a relaxed and friendly occasion, underlying suspicions, jealousies and conflicts gradually surface. The game culminates in murder and suicide under the glare of public attention.

The two men on the winning team, Janchi and Chamon, are involved in adulterous relationships with the wives of their opponents, the host Bubu Fiel, a taxi-driver, and Manchi, a pompous bailiff. With great skill Arion reveals the past history and underlying motivations of the four players at the same time as creating a convincing atmosphere of heat and squalor and painting an affectionate but critical picture of Curaçao society.

The book is dedicated significantly to ‘women of courage’. In the novel it is Solema, who eventually
leaves Manchi for Janchi Pau, who most clearly represents the courage, vision and energy required to emancipate the island from the colonial yoke and subservience to multinational oil companies. However, Bubu’s wife Nora, with her determination to secure an education at any cost for her bright son and constant desperate efforts to ward off impending financial disaster, exhibits her own, humbler kind of heroism.

The characters are stereotypes but effectively drawn and the explicit post-colonial political agenda (the Caribbean island of Curaçao is a Dutch dependency, and Dutch is still an official language there) does not detract from the liveliness of the action. The author’s deliberately formal style contrasts with the snatches of his native creole, Papiamento. It gives a unique flavour to the book, whose classical force the author has yet to surpass in any of its successors.


bookweb from:
Lezen&Cetera, Pieter Steinz

The End of the Affair
Graham Greene, 1951
Novel about adultery which Arion says influenced him more than any other book, because of all the surprising plot-twists.

Miguel Street
V.S. Naipaul, 1959
Life in Trinidad is described through the eyes of a 'street rab' in Miguel Street. The happy-go-lucky community abounds in eccentric characters. See also: A House for Mr Biswas.

A House for Mr Biswas
V.S. Naipaul, 1961
A journalist in Trinidad struggles to break free from his Hindu inlaws. See also: Miguel Street.

Winner Take Nothing
Ernest Hemingway, 1933
Fourteen stories that focus on the trying relationship between macho-men and courageous women. See also: Men Without Women.

Men Without Women
Ernest Hemingway, 1927
Hemingway's men are bullfighters and boxers, hired hands and hard drinkers, gangsters and gunmen. Each of their stories deals with masculine toughness unsoftened by woman's hand. See also: Winner Take Nothing.

My Sister, the Negro
Cola Debrot, 1935
An Antillean man discovers that his childhood sweetheart is his father's illegitimate daughter...

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez, 1967
This magical realist novel tells the history of the Buendías family, the founders of Macondo, a remote South American settlement. In the world of the novel there is a Spanish galleon beached in the jungle, a flying carpet, and an iguana in a woman's womb.

Weekend Pilgrimage
Tip Marugg, 1957
A solitary drinker on Curaçao goes through various stages of mind expansion and 'mind constriction'.

Rock of Offense
Boeli van Leeuwen, 1959
The biography of a young man from Curaçao, reconstructed from papers found after his death as a result of diving for treasure at the bottom of a Venezuelan river.

Palace of the Peacock
Wilson Harris, 1960
Part I of The Guyana Quartet, experimental prose by British Guiana-born Wilson Harris.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Jorge Amado, 1966
An attractive widow in a ménage à trois with a boring apothecary and her dead husband.


Double Play: The Story of an Amazing World Record
A politically charged novel about a memorable game of dominoes on colonial Curaçao lays bare a mozaic of adultery and machination.

Dr No
Ian Fleming, 1958
James Bond fights mad scientist in Jamaica.

Breath, Eyes, Memory
Edwidge Danticat, 1994
Three generations of women in Haiti and New York.

[De koningin van Paramaribo]
Clark Accord, 1999
The story of Maxi Linder, whore and philanthropist.

In the Castle of My Skin
George Lamming, 1953
A man grows up politically aware in Barbados.

Leo Ferrier, 1968
Psychological novel about young Creoles and Hindustanis growing up in Surinam.

Patrick Chamoiseau, 1992
Historical epic about the painful history of Martinique.

[Was getekend]
Astrid Roemer, 1998
Part III of a trilogy about the relationship between The Netherlands and Surinam.

Windward Heights
Maryse Condé, 1995
Wuthering Heights in Guadaloupe.

A High Wind in Jamaica
Richard Hughes, 1929
English schoolchildren are kidnapped by pirates.

Aphra Behn, 1688
An African slave leads a revolt in (English) Surinam.

Rum Island
S. Vestdijk, 1940
Man in 18th-century Jamaica investigates fraud and his father's murder.

Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys, 1966
An account of the life of Antoinette Cosway, the fictional character who becomes the madwoman in the attic in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

The Kingdom of This World
Alejo Carpentier, 1949
Set in Haiti during the transition to independence, this novel tells of Ti Noel, a leader who draws on African spirituality and wisdom to lead a group of ex-slaves through chaotic times.

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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.