Author of Café d’Afrique
Navigating the landscape of a marriage
“Traverse presents the reader with a fascinating landscape on two levels: the psychological landscape of a marriage under enormous, almost insurmountable pressure; and the physical landscape of a country that is as threatening and difficult as it is exquisitely beautiful.” — Amanda Curtin, Author.
Traverse is a moving travel memoir that charts a woman’s difficult and dangerous trek with her husband. The landscape of Madagascar, in particular the powerful Bemarivo River, brings her face-to-face with her own limitations and demons from her past. By pushing through a physical feat of endurance and closely examining the emotional truth of her situation in a challenging test of resilience, she must finally resolve her own and her husband’s future.
Tineke, her husband Dirk and their two children have moved many times to support his career as a geologist. As the family struggle to fit in to their new home in England, Dirk is away for months conducting surveys in Madagascar. When he’s home he is mentally absent, still in Madagascar it seems. When Tineke discovers his infidelity, with the planner and supplier of his treks, her life can never be the same.
Determined to save her twelve-year marriage Tineke decides to accompany Dirk on his next geological expedition: a 350-kilometre trek through the unrelenting terrain of Madagascar. Based upon a real-life geological expedition, and using fieldnotes taken on the trek about the people, the landscapes, the villages, tracks and lives of the local people, the novel details Northern Madagascar exquisitely. The physical landscape and emotional journey are inextricably intertwined, told in Tineke’s detailed descriptions of the unfolding situation, the sights, scents and sentiments.
“Once you leave the tarmac a whole network of footpaths, people, an economy of shops and guesthouses, ‘hotelys’ emerges. Bis lanana? Where’s the path? was the Malgasy phrase we heard and spoke over and over. There is always a path. Finding it is essential to surviving. And so it was for me, for finding our way through the relationship crisis we found ourselves in. We crossed four climate zones and at times were trekking through thick jungle and dangerous mountains and ravines. In following the Bemarivo river back to its source its energy rekindled my own path and purpose, just like the river” said Tineke.
Traverse is a forensic examination of the denouement of a fractured marriage, where the author rediscovers her resilience and finds a way through for herself and her family. he unpublished manuscript was short-listed for the 2016 City of Fremantle T.A.G Hungerford Award. Released on 4 November 2018 by Wild Weeds Press.
Price: $25 paperback, 220 pages
Order from: www.readtraverse.com
Tineke Van der Eecken
Tineke Van der Eecken is a Belgian-born Australian writer who works in conflict resolution. She is the author of Cafe d’Afrique, a memoir about her coffee shop in Zambia, published in 2012. Her poetry and non-fiction are published in Australia, Europe and in the UK. Tineke also makes jewellery inspired by her travels. She lives near Fremantle Western Australia.