Apple and Knife

Book / Collection of Short Stories


by Intan Paramaditha
Translated by Stephen J. Epstein

Format: Paperback, English
208 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /9781925704006
Published Mar 01, 2018 by The Lifted Brow

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Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves into the supernatural to explore the dangers and power of occupying a female body in today’s world.

These short fictions set in the Indonesian everyday—in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages—reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface. Sometimes wacky and always engrossing, this is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.

Mara finds herself brainstorming an ad campaign for Free Maxi Pads, with a little help from the menstruation-eating hag of her childhood. Jamal falls in love with the rich and powerful Bambang, but it is the era of the smiling general and, if he’s not careful, he may find himself recruited to Bambang’s brutal cause.  Solihin would give anything to make dangdut singer Salimah his wife – anything at all.

In the globally connected and fast-developing Indonesia of Apple and Knife, taboos, inversions, sex and death all come together in a heady, intoxicating mix full of pointed critiques and bloody mutilations. Women carve a place for themselves in this world, finding ways to subvert norms or enacting brutalities on themselves and each other.1


  1. The Lifted Brow 


Paramaditha takes the thematic concepts of mythical stories – love, the taboo, death – and twists them into something new and challenging.
Bee Oder in 10 Short Story Collection about Women (Book Riot, Jul 10, 2018)
The nuanced understanding and subtlety of Paramaditha's short stories, which cleverly navigates the intersection of contemporary setting and folklore, is masterful.
Brooke Boland in Review: Apple and Knife by Intan Paramaditha (ArtsHub, May 28, 2018)
The stories in Apple and Knife are raw, fun, excessive, and told with a wink, but they are underlaid with an unsettling awareness of the common fate of “disobedient women”.
Emily Bitto in ‘Apple and Knife’: a riot of unruly women (The Monthly, May 04, 2018)
Set in the Indonesian everyday, these stories twist the familiar until it is uncanny, unsettling, even startling.
Lisa Bennett in Lisa Bennett reviews ‘Apple and Knife’ by Intan Paramaditha, translated by Stephen J. Epstein (Australian Book Review, May 01, 2018)
The author throws us into the cauldron of contemporary Indonesia through an eclectic cast of characters – we encounter everyone from musicians to corporate high-flyers to witches.
Cameron Woodhead in Fiction review: Apple and Knife (The Sydney Morning Herald, Mar 30, 2018)
Paramaditha’s stories are shockingly bold and macabrely funny, powerfully defamiliarising the cultural lore of patriarchy. What makes them special is their lack of interest in representing women as victims – here, the taboo of feminist anger is flagrantly and entertainingly broken.
Intan Paramaditha Apple and Knife (The Saturday Paper, Mar 03, 2018)
The stories in this collection do what I feel a good short story should do: they pull you in quickly, engage your curiosity and then Bang! it’s over ...
Suzanne Steinbruckner in Apple and Knife by Intan Paramaditha (Readings – Blog, Feb 26, 2018)
When you hear the term “Indonesian woman”, what comes to mind?
Norman Erikson Pasaribu in Disobedient women (Mekong Review, Feb 09, 2018)