On a Woman’s Madness

Longlist, National Book Awards 2023 for Translated Literature

ISBN 9781949641431
Two Lines Press
Lucy Scott

Lucy Scott is a translator of Caribbean literature written in Dutch and French. Her short story and essay translations have appeared in Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review and in Wilderness House Literary Review. More about this author >

Author photo of Astrid Roemer. (Photo credit: Raul Neijhorst)
Astrid Roemer

In 1966, at the age of 19, Astrid Roemer emigrated from Suriname to the Netherlands. She was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize in 2016, and the Dutch Literature Prize (Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren) in 2021. More about this author >

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Translated from the Dutch

From the publisher:

A classic of queer literature that’s as electrifying today as it was when it originally appeared in 1982, On a Woman’s Madness tells the story of Noenka, a courageous Black woman trying to live a life of her 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 the passionate romances of the present but haunted by society’s expectations and her ancestral past.

Translated into sensuous English for the first time by Lucy Scott, Astrid Roemer’s intimate novel—with its tales of plantation-dwelling snakes, rare orchids, and star-crossed lovers—is a blistering meditation on the cruelties we inflict on those who disobey.