Frank Martinus Arion - Double Play
It is a hot afternoon in the village of Wakota on Curaçao, an island in the Netherlands Antilles. Four men sit under a tamarind tree, playing dominoes: Booboo Fiel, taxi driver and layabout; Manchi Sanantonio, bailiff and owner of the biggest house in Wakota; Chamon Nicolas, convicted murderer with a secret fortune; and Janchi Pau, independent idealist.
They play dominoes every Sunday, but this Sunday is different. Trouble is brewing. Nobody tells juicy stories, instead all the talk is of politics. Janchi and Chamon are playing as if their lives depended on the outcome of the game. Driven by his love for Solema, Manchi’s wife, Janchi is determined to win. The stage is set for an unprecedented defeat, a double defeat.
In addition to the four men with their four different views of Curaçaoan society, Solema and her friend Nora also play an important role in the story. Of them all, Solema is the one progressive thinker and it’s no coincidence that she winds up as one of the winners in the book. Meanwhile tension and intrigue affect them all in this taut and ambitious tragicomedy.
The author was born Frank Efraim Martinus in Curaçao in 1936. He came to Holland in 1955 to study Dutch literature and returned to Curaçao in 1981. He now heads the Curaçao Language Institute which promotes the use and recognition of Papiamento, a pidgin language of the Antilles. Arion tries to provide readers with ‘critical knowledge about reality’, while at the same time getting them ‘so immersed in the book that they forget about the food they have cooking on the stove’.
- ‘Double Play is the work of one who prepared himself for this sort of audience through life experience. Beneath the ostensible goal of victory in dominoes, the four men are competing for individual power and for the loyalty of their lovers and wives.’ - World Literature Today
- ‘Almost thirty years later, Arion’s story of an amazing world record is still one the highlights of modern Dutch literature.’ - NRC Handelsblad