Book Stories

Translating the darkness

Jan 07, 2018 / Apple and Knife
The New Zealand Festival's Reader and Writer's section is a chance to see some of your favourite authors and find many new ones. A very new author - at least to English language fiction is Indonesian writer Intan Paramaditha.

The Birdwoman’s Palate by LAKSMI PAMUNTJAK

Jan 02, 2018 / The Birdwoman’s Palate
I’ve picked this book as one of my Kindle First in January, partially because I’m doing Reading Challenge at The Fiction Cafe Book club and the first one was to read a book with a food item on the cover. I’ve had few book contestants for this challenge but as soon as I saw this cover, I knew I had to buy it. It just so colourful and pretty, yes I do judge book by it’s cover. However now I will judge it also by its content.

Intan Paramaditha’s ‘Gentayangan’ crosses many borders

Nov 13, 2017 / Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu
You yearn to travel, but never have. It’s too expensive, so you’re stuck here — in Indonesia, at your boring job teaching English, despite never having stepped foot in an English-speaking country. You’ve tried to find fulfillment in romance, but your boyfriends have all been losers. Meanwhile, your sister’s doing well: she has a successful husband, two cute kids, and runs her own Islamic fashion business. That’s fine for her, but it’s not the life you want for yourself. Not at all. What choice does a gal have but to cut a deal with the devil? So that’s exactly what you, the protagonist of Gentayangan, do.

One for fans of Tarantino-type violence

Nov 06, 2017 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
Eka Kurniawan is the author of four novels as well as a number of short story collections. In 2016, he became the first Indonesian writer to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, for his first novel, Man Tiger. Overall, his works have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Sapardi Djoko Damono’s ‘Hujan Bulan Juni’ translated into Mandarin

Nov 03, 2017 / Hujan Bulan Juni: Novel
Poetry anthology Hujan Bulan Juni (A June Rain) by Sapardi Djoko Damono is now available in Mandarin, after a reader was compelled to translate the work. As reported by, TF Chan, who is of Indonesian descent but lives in Hong Kong, became a fan of Sapardi's book. Despite not being familiar with Sapardi, as well not having any background in linguistics, Chan said his interest in the work encouraged him to translate it.

Pulp horror

Nov 01, 2017 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
t’s easy to mistake Eka Kurniawan’s pulpy third novel, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, for a fun read of little substance. The main plot centres on the protagonist’s inability to get hard. Graphic sex abounds, as do brawls, shootings and slapstick. Take the part where Ajo Kawir, the main character, tries to “wake” his penis by subjecting it to bee stings, or the paragraph that treats us to the thoughts of a house gecko on a ceiling before it shits on a character’s head. In short, Vengeance is a different animal from Eka’s first two novels, though more akin in pitch, pace and subject matter to his second — Man Tiger, which was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize — than to his sprawling and lyrical first, Beauty Is a Wound. A shift in style was perhaps inevitable: Vengeance came out in Indonesia in 2014, ten years after the original version of Man Tiger (Lelaki Harimau). But Eka has always been open about the impression made on him by trashy novels. A Sydney Morning Herald article from August 2015 mentions they were a major component of his childhood “diet”. When asked about his literary influences, he has named international greats such as Gabriel García Márquez, Herman Melville and Nikolai Gogol, yes, but also Abdullah Harahap (a prolific horror writer in the 1970s and 1980s) and Kho Ping Hoo (a popular author of martial-arts pulps). After the publication of the Indonesian edition of Man Tiger, Eka collaborated with fellow writers Ugoran Prasad and Intan Paramaditha on a collection of creepy stories paying homage to Abdullah Harahap. The fruits of the project were published in 2010 as Kumpulan Budak Setan (which roughly translates as The Devil’s Slaves Club).

New Poetry Book ‘Contact Light’ Connects Human Experience With Science, Outer Space

Oct 24, 2017 / Contact Light: the void inside and out
Eleventh-grader Madina Malahayati Chumaera recently celebrated her 17th birthday with the launch of her very first book, titled "Contact Light: The Void Inside and Out," a poetry book conveying unusual themes: humankind, cognitive science and outer space. Written in English, "Contact Light" was originally self-published as a school project. At her school, Global Jaya International School, every student must embark upon on a personal project when they reach grade 10.

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash: Review

Oct 22, 2017 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
First impression is crucial. It may make or break a deal; forge or destroy a friendship; kill or start a bond. The first impression an author makes, with his any book, on his reader can either earn him a fan or a cynic. That book need not be his best creation, but it has to tempt the reader to pick his next creation for sure. Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash may not be Eka Kurniawan’s best book (his earlier novel Beauty is a Wound was nominated for Man Booker Prize and is listed as the top 100 notable books by New York Times), but it is the first book I have read by him. And Mr Kurniawan has definitely not earned a cynic.

Man Tiger (Eka Kurniawan, 2015)

Oct 21, 2017 / Man Tiger
The Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan reverts to old folk beliefs in the novel ‘Man Tiger’. It covers not only a psychological drama but also many layers of his native culture. One day the young Margio jumps to his neighbor Anwar Sadat and bites him in his throat. The victim is quickly bled. When one finds Anwar Sadat in south Java, a Batik cloth is spread over him.

Jackson Arn reviews Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan

Oct 19, 2017 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
In his earliest work, Eka Kurniawan—the inventive Indonesian writer whose novel Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash has just been translated into English by Annie Tucker—made time his plaything. Single sentences squeezed the present next to the distant past and future; entire books revolved around a single instant. In order to explain why this new book marks a misstep in its author’s already distinguished career, it seems only right to begin with a brief, decades-spanning story.