Book Stories


Life’s course in lyrics

Jul 03, 2014 / Before Dawn: The Poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono
As a Jack-of-all-literary trades—as essayist, short-story writer, translator, and poet—Sapardi Djoko Damono is best known asIndonesia’s foremost lyricist whose career meanwhile spans five decades of published work. It is the first four of these that ...

Twilight in Jakarta by Mochtar Lubis

Jul 01, 2014 / Twilight in Djakarta
Twilight in Jakarta is a vivid and compassionate dissection of the social and political life of Jakarta in the formative years after independence. This important book reveals the dark currents of poverty, corruption and vice which course just beneath the surface of one of the great cities of the Third World, where the lives of intellectuals, poets, essayists, sociologists, swaggering businessman and labor leaders are enmeshed with thugs, pickpockets, petty thieves, loan sharks, coolies and street people who live in grinding abysmal poverty.

Jennifer Mackenzie reviews The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak

May 17, 2014 / The Question of Red: A Novel
From where she was standing, on the backyard of the hospital, the only objects she could make out were the parts chosen by the dying light. Idlehorse carts, bamboo bushes deep in sleep, an abandoned ...

Ikhda, by Ikhda by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi

May 04, 2014 / Ikhda, by Ikhda
Ikhda, by Ikhda is fresh air on the page. The collection is bound by the tumult of language and expression as it travels through the everyday-turned-surreal to the touching and tender will of a mother ...

One novel; two very different versions

Mar 20, 2014 / The Rainbow Troops: A Novel
Andrea Hirata’s novel “The Rainbow Troops” is the first Indonesian novel to become an international bestseller. Interestingly, the version available outside Indonesia is very different to the one familiar to Indonesian readers. Bettina David explores ...

Postcolonial Life and Death: A Process-Based Comparison of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Ayu Utami’s Saman

Mar 01, 2014 / Saman Saman: A Novel
This comparative study of Wuthering Heights (a mid-nineteenth-century British novel by Emily Brontë) and Saman (a late-twentieth-century Indonesian novel by Ayu Utami) examines the two novels’ respective treatments of internal colonization — a shared thematic ...

Saman’s Struggle For Meaning In Ayu Utami’s Saman: A Psychoexistentialism Perspective

Jan 30, 2014 / Saman Saman: A Novel
In any condition of life, people always search for meaning to give their life goal to direction and they will do anything for it. Meaning is individual and may change. As an imitation of life, ...

Okky Madasari Maryam

Jan 23, 2014 / Maryam
Maryam is one of several novels and films that address the matters of religious freedom, religious violence and religious pluralism (films include Tanda Tanya and Cin(t)a). The discourses of literature and film offer an alternative ...

Review: Pasung Jiwa by Okky Madasari

Jan 11, 2014 / Pasung Jiwa
In Indonesia, in Jakarta for exact, spotting transgenders as street singers is a common thing. But not just looking at their particular fashion style and dance moves, their lives and self-battle will be another interesting ...

Voices from the unheard

Jan 04, 2014 / Pulang
Leila S. Chudori’s novel Pulang is an important addition to a growing literature examining the events of 1965-66 and its aftermath. In a recent Tempo article, Goenawan Mohamad described 1965 as ‘a kind of code … for a catastrophic occurrence – and because of this, always simplified.’ He went on to observe that 2012 seemed to be a year of remembering, or imagining, 1965.