Marieke Groen (1966) takes us to Egypt, writing  about a Dutch female journalist who carries the name Moira Oblong (MO). Before she takes up a high editorial position at the magazine SHE, she decides to have a break and she travels to Egypt to work as a volunteer at an archeological dig, with an Egyptian/Dutch team. She has the reponsibility to take care of groups of volunteers that come from all kinds of places to do some digging ad sifting for a few weeks in the Valley of Kings.

MO has a relationship with Koen, who stays in The Netherlands, but who has made plans to visit MO. One day when MO returns to her room at the hotel where she and the other volunteers stay, she finds a man at her room: Omar Maspero (OM). From that moment on MO and OM relate to one another, not much talk, some doubts in the mind of MO (about the relationship with Koen) and maybe some doubts in the mind of OM (about his relationship). And girlish attitude at times. More basic sex and some more (even an orgy at an expatriate party involving OM, MO and another volunteer, this part sticks out like an inselberg in the Egyptian desert). And doubts about that and the stickability of the relations, for the time being or for a lasting time?

OM works at the same dig, when it is found out that he has an ancestor with a fearsome reputation in the field of grave-robbing, he is fired, but OM and MO stay together, at times and talk and separate and have sex. Two poles of a magnet, attraction and rejection, OM and MO. (In real life Marieke Groen did meet an descendant of a famous / notorious grave-robber in Egypt.)

In the meantime we get some information on different dynasties and pharao’s and the work at an archeological site. The Dutch professor Van Backhuysen hopes to make an important find, i.e. the remains of Siptah II. But all the time reality and fakeness and doubt linger at the site. Do not come to hasty conclusions. Check and double-check. But still the pressure to find something really worthwhile and lasting is present.

In this way the archeological site and the relational site (OM and MO) have similarities: what is real and what is fake, what is lasting and what does not stand the winds of time? What to depend on and what not? Check and double-check. What do you hope to find when you keep on digging in your life? What are your foundations? 

Marieke Groen – Koortsgloed – 2006



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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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