Twilight in Jakarta

Book / Novel


by Mochtar Lubis (1922-2004)
Translated by John H. McGlynn

Format: Paperback, English
232 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: 6029144081/9786029144086
Published Jan 01, 2014 by Lontar Foundation

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Also see Senja di Jakarta

Half a century ago when Mochtar Lubis’ Twilight in Jakarta was secreted out of Indonesia and published in London, it was the first Indonesian novel ever to be published in English translation. The novel, a depiction of social and political events in the capital during the run up to a national election, contains a grim cast of characters: corrupt politicians, impotent intellectuals, unprincipled journalists, manipulative Leftists, and impetuous Muslims to name but a few.

Although the novel represents a condemnation of political practices prevalent in Indonesia in the 1950s, readers today will find much in this novel that resonates still. It is re-published here at a time when, after three decades of authoritarianism and more than a decade of transition, Indonesia once again has a boisterous multi-party system of competing and collaborating political parties as well as a mass media which often both serves particular political interests and thrives on sensationalist stories of corruption and malfeasance.



Mochtar tried to chart a path forward for Indonesia’s future which would have inoculated the country from totalitarian impulses while simultaneously taming the corruption and chaos engulfing its democratic infancy.
Duncan Evans in ‘Twilight in Jakarta’ – A portrait of a nation on the brink of disintegration (The Jakarta Post, Sep 05, 2016)