WINNER OF P.C. HOOFT PRIZE 2016
Love in Times of Need brings us closer to Astrid H. Roemer than she has ever let us in her work. We get to know her through her humor, sometimes light and casual, sometimes sought after and sardonic. We take part in her indignation, her pain from struggling with a world that doesn’t learn from history and continues in its repetition of evil.
We sympathize with the importance attached to countries in which she comes and goes; people in her memory who she loves, along with her love for writing, language, music, and her longing for the pleasures of love, her friends and family. Roemer’s fear of all that is corrupt, which can trap her and make her unfree, stops with her cat Steffi, who has been her closest companion for 19 years.
Over the past decade, she has traveled through the Netherlands, Suriname and Scotland with little more than a backpack, a laptop and her cats. Love in Times of Need is a unique and subtle autobiography of one of the most original writers in our literature.
Astrid H. Roemer (Paramaribo, 1947) experienced her break-through in the Netherlands with About the Insanity of a Woman, an experimental novel about the complexities of womanhood. In the nineties she wrote three decolonization novels: Bold Life (1996), Seems Like Love (1997) Signed (1998). She has been praised both in Suriname and the Netherlands for her courage and obstinacy, her political commitment and literary complexity in her already extensive oeuvre of poetry, prose, essays and plays. Over the past fifteen years she lived in total isolation in the Scottish Highlands. It was during this time that Love in Times of Need came to be.
‘With its philosophical commitment, exhuberent language and fragmentary approach, it distinguishes itself from the outset from popular Surinamese writers like Bea Vianen and Cynthia McLeod. It’s strength lies in its heaviness and lightness, seriousness and irony, which go hand in hand. That three volumes of the autobiography will appear is both pleasing and compelling.’ Marja Pruis