A post by Peter Jordens.
It Happened at Marienburg, Suriname
Cynthia Mc Leod
Suriname: VACO Publishers, 2017
It happened at Marienburg, Suriname is the English translation of the historical novel called Herinneringen aan Mariënburg (1998) by Suriname’s best-known novelist, Cynthia Mc Leod. The translation was an initiative of the Surinamese ambassador to India, Mrs Aashna Kanhai, on the occasion of the centenary of the abolition of indentured labor, commemorated in India in 2017. Translated from Dutch by Gerald Mettam, this special edition of Mc Leod’s novel was made possible through cooperation between VACO Publishing (the original, Surinamese publisher), the government of India, and the embassies of Suriname and the Netherlands in India. The book was launched in New Delhi, India, in October 2017 and is now also available in Suriname. The possibility of translating the novel into Hindi is being considered.
Marienburg Plantation, Suriname; it is the year 1902. The Hindustani and Javanese immigrants, who work and live under terrible conditions on the sugar plantation, revolt and kill the director in a gruesome way. Of course this is unacceptable to those in power and a unit of soldiers is directed to Marienburg. There is a confrontation; the soldiers open fire at a crowd and people die. The dead do not receive a proper burial but are dumped in a mass grave at a location unknown to their relatives. From then on mysterious things start happening at Marienburg. The workers are convinced that these are caused by the mass grave.
Sita is the illegal daughter of a Hindustani immigrant and the killed director of Marienburg. As a child, she experiences the rebellion on the plantation up close. As an adult, she goes back to Marienburg with her husband, where she learns that the plantation has a score to settle with her too.
Sources (all in Dutch):
Facebook page of the publisher, https://www.facebook.com/BoekhandelVACO
‘It happened at Mariënburg, Suriname’ op Indiase markt, http://www.starnieuws.com/index.php/welcome/index/nieuwsitem/42029
Book launch ‘Herinneringen aan Mariënburg’ te New Delhi, https://www.srherald.com/suriname/2018/01/04/book-launch-herinneringen-aan-marienburg-te-new-delhi
It happened at Marienburg, Suriname, http://werkgroepcaraibischeletteren.nl/it-happened-at-marienburg-suriname