Book Stories

Azhari Aiyub’s tale of the bearded turtle

Jul 14, 2018 / Kura-Kura Berjanggut
At first glance, the novel Kura-kura Berjanggut (The Bearded Turtle), set in Aceh's past, may look intimidating, being almost one thousand pages in length. But when you turn to the first page and start reading, the story will absorb you, and without realizing it you will have finished the first chapter in no time. Written by Acehnese Azhari Aiyub, Kura-kura Berjanggut is set in Aceh from the 16th century onward. Narrated across diverse time settings, it follows the lives of several characters, one of whom is Si Ujud.

10 Short Story Collection about Women

Jul 10, 2018 / Apple and Knife
This collection brings together modern-day fairy tales, though none of them are what you might expect. Paramaditha takes the thematic concepts of mythical stories – love, the taboo, death – and twists them into something new and challenging. These stories can be grotesque, but they are also raw in an appealing way. Each one is a fresh take on horror. However, even though there is a bizarre and fantastical quality to them, the mundane settings root them in reality and relatability.

Ayu Utami: On the Reform era, 20th anniversary of ‘Saman’

Jun 25, 2018 / Saman
Indonesians who grew up in the 1990s will still remember the impact that Ayu Utami’s debut novel Saman had. The novel was published just nine days before the totalitarian New Order regime of Soeharto was overthrown on May 21, 1998, after retaining power for 32 years.

Remembering the gang rapes of May 1998

Jun 07, 2018 / Jakarta 2039
By the end of the New Order in 1998, the writer Seno Gumira Ajidarma was established as a chronicler of state-based violence and urban society. His collection of stories, Saksi Mata (Eye Witness), published in 1994, was the first literary documentation of the killing and trauma inflicted on the people of Timor Loro Sae, and was partly facilitated by Seno’s journalistic connections. Seno drew on his ability to write tightly framed stories for mass media. He became one of the most prominent writers working within the literary genre known as ‘sastra koran’ (newspaper literature). After the May 1998 riots Seno wrote three short stories about the violence and gang rapes of mostly ethnic Chinese women that took place in the midst of the rioting in Jakarta and other cities. The stories published in newspapers and magazines at the time were: ‘Clara Atawa Perempuan yang Diperkosa’ (‘Clara or the Woman who was Raped’, published in Republika on 26 July 1998); ‘Jakarta, Suatu Ketika’ (‘Jakarta at a Certain Point in Time’, Horison, June 1999); and ‘Jakarta 2039: 40 Tahun 9 Bulan Setelah 13-14 Mei 1998’ (‘Jakarta 2039: 40 years 9 months after 13-14 May 1998’, first published in Matra, 1999).

Friendship and food in ‘Aruna and Her Palate’

Jun 01, 2018 / Aruna & Lidahnya
Aruna and Her Palate brings up a rare topic in the Indonesian film industry: Friendships and lives of people in their 30s with food as the base. Adapted from Laksmi Pamuntjak’s novel of the same title, Aruna and Her Palate was directed by Edwin, who also helmed Posesif. “It’s a drama but with many spices,” said Edwin, when being asked to describe the film, during the press conference on Thursday, May 31, in Kemang, South Jakarta.

‘Bumi Manusia’ simplified to lure millennial generation

May 31, 2018 / Bumi Manusia (Tetralogi Buru #1)
Astuti Ananta Toer, the fourth child of Pramoedya “Pram” Ananta Toer, was overwhelmed with emotions as she spoke during the first day of filming for her father’s magnum opus, Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), by Falcon Picture. “This is an honor to Pram himself, who struggled to secure the recognition of his civil rights by shedding his blood,” she said during a recent press conference to mark the production of Bumi Manusia at Studio Alam Gamplong in Sumber Rahayu village, Sleman, Yogyakarta.

Review: Apple and Knife by Intan Paramaditha

May 28, 2018 / Apple and Knife
The first story in the collection Apple and Knife, by Indonesian-born writer Intan Paramaditha, begins with a woman recounting the story of how she became blind, a retelling of the familiar Cinderella, only this time told from the point of view of her step-sister. 'History has killed me off in favour of her, who people say lived happily ever after. You want to know the real truth? Sin is dead. I’m the one who survives.'

Iqbaal Ramadhan to star in ‘Bumi Manusia’ film adaptation

May 25, 2018 / Bumi Manusia (Tetralogi Buru #1)
Production company Falcon Pictures has announced that it will adapt the novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind) into a film. Written by acclaimed literature giant Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the book is the first of a tetralogy written while Toer was imprisoned on Buru Island, Maluku. Set in 1898 to 1918 when Indonesia was under Dutch colonial rule, it captures the emergence of the national awakening movement and the influence of Dutch Indies’ thinking in Indonesia.

Australia’s taste for translated literature is getting broader, and that’s a good thing

May 22, 2018 / Apple and Knife
In 2018 the rights to Brow Books’ first translated title – the short fiction collection Apple and Knife, written by Indonesian-born Intan Paramaditha and translated by New Zealand scholar Stephen Epstein – were sold to Harvill Secker, an imprint of Random House UK, demonstrating that Australian translations have global appeal, too.

Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger: Fiction that Brings us Back to the World

May 20, 2018 / Man Tiger
“The tigress had come to him, lying beside him on the surau’s warm rug, while the universe outside froze. As his grandfather had said, the tigress was white as a swan or a cloud or cotton wool. How unbelievably happy he was, for the tigress was more than anything he had ever wanted”. Indonesia’s Eka Kurniawan has been garnering attention with his second novel Man Tiger. Although fairly slim, on paper Man Tiger almost begs to be labelled a work of magical realism; a generational tale set in an unnamed town in the tropics teeming with lusts and dreams, violence and loss, spirits and folklore.