On a Woman's Madness
A FINALIST FOR THE 2023 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE
On a Woman's Madness tells the story of Noenka, a courageous Black woman trying to live a life of her own choosing. When her abusive husband of just nine days refuses her request for divorce, Noenka flees her hometown in Suriname, on South America's tropical northeastern coast, for the capital city of Paramaribo. Unsettled and unsupported, her life in this new place is illuminated by romance and new freedoms, but also forever haunted by her past and society's expectations.
Strikingly translated by Lucy Scott, Astrid Roemer's classic queer novel is a tentpole of European and post-colonial literature. And amid tales of plantation-dwelling snakes, rare orchids, and star-crossed lovers, it is also a blistering meditation on the cruelties we inflict on those who disobey. Roemer, the first Surinamese winner of the prestigious Dutch Literature Prize, carves out postcolonial Suriname in barbed, resonant fragments. Who is Noenka? Roemer asks us. "I'm Noenka," she responds resolutely, "which means Never Again."