The Red Bekisar

Book / Novel


by Ahmad Tohari

Format: Paperback, English
320 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /978-0-9836273-2-6
Published by Dalang Publishing

View on Goodreads | Google Books
Also see Bekisar Merah

In a village of coconut growers in Central Java during the 1960s, Lasi and Kanjat grow up in a community of nira tappers. Half-Japanese and half-Javanese, beautiful Lasi and Kanjat are schoolmates but kept apart by different economic backgrounds, Kanjat being the son of the buyer of the raw sap the tappers produce.

Lasi’s marriage to Darsa, a tapper, is happy until he falls climbing a tree. A medicine woman cures his paralysis in exchange for impregnating her daughter. Distraught, Lasi flees to Jakarta and meets Ibu Lanting, the madam of an exclusive prostitution service. Being a much desired but disposable ornament in high government and social circles motivates her to return home.

Lasi and Kanjat rediscover their affection for each other. Their bond is the village: the ground it stands on, its people and their traditions. While the tappers fight against the removal of coconut trees to accommodate new electrical poles, Lasi and Kanjat struggle to free her from a net of power and corruption. Their triumph is a victory of honor over the unethical.



An entertaining exemplum of cultural modernity enshrined in the character of a heroine leaving society behind to catch up with her, even if only in fiction.
Gayatri Devi in The Red Bekisar by Ahmad Tohari (World Literature Today, Nov 01, 2015)