Book Stories


The Failure of Free Will

Aug 16, 2012 / And the War Is Over
Nationalism, it seems, is no friend to nuance; but in the face of myth, fiction is perhaps a better corrective than scholarship. So it is that with some pleasure that we revisit Ismail Marahimin's 1977 classic And the War Is Over. Set in the Sumatran village of Teratakbuluh, the novel tells the story of a Japanese internment camp at the end of the World War Two. Cutting between the Japanese commander Osé, his Dutch prisoners of war, and the local villagers, And the War Is Over is a restrained portrait of the end of the Japanese empire.

Bilangan Fu by Ayu Utami

Aug 09, 2012 / Bilangan Fu
Ayu Utami was in the Netherlands in May 2012 to introduce her latest book, Bilangan Fu. In an interview she emphasised the three main parts of her book, summarising the three dangers of our time: Modernism, Monotheism and Militarism. Modernism has destroyed our naïve and innocent view of our world, annihilated our ability to see miracles. Monotheism has reduced the rich variety of spiritual ways to six only, the officially recognised international religions of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Catholicism and Protestantism. And these great global religions are especially damaging the rise and development of true spiritual life when they express themselves in a fundamentalist way. Militarism is presented in a somewhat nuanced way: not all military are bad people. They are very powerful and so it may be wise to seek the cooperation of good officers and try to do good things with them. This will not work always.

The Rainbow Troops: Indonesia’s Biggest Selling Novel

Aug 07, 2012 / The Rainbow Troops: A Novel
“My culture has a beautiful way of criticising without hurting.” At the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival Andrea Hirata spoke about his novel Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops), which has sold five million official copies plus ...

Bilangan Fu

Apr 23, 2011 / Bilangan Fu
Ayu Utami is one of my favorite Indonesian authors. The supernatural-spiritual tales on the story, featured with urban legend and folktales are her signature which made the story very Indonesia. She wouldn’t hesitate to bring ...

Review: Modern family

Apr 01, 2011 / 9 dari Nadira
What makes Leila S. Chudori’s 9 dari Nadira such an enjoyable read and an excellent piece of literature? This novel stands out because it touches upon a wide range of emotions and aspects of the ...

A Thrill Ride to Afghanistan

Jun 27, 2010 / Selimut Debu
Several years ago, a man dreamed of traveling to Afghanistan to see what was behind the dust — the seemingly endless war, the grenades, the refugees, the Taliban. In his dream, he saw two gigantic ...

Unveiling Sexuality and social insanity

Apr 11, 2010 / Entrok
There was a time when this country had an authoritarian leader who knew nothing but the accumulation of wealth and power to maintain control over society. He used military and civilian personnel to intimidate the people ...

Gerhana Kembar, a novel by Clara Ng

Nov 27, 2008 / Gerhana Kembar
Lendy, book editor on big publishing house got bit surprise when she found old manuscript and letters in her grandmother’s cupboard. Now, her grandmother’s is dying because of cancer in hospital. Lendy read the story ...

Theme level issues in novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar Maesa Ayu

Jan 01, 2008 / Saman Saman: A Novel
Problem or theme which is lifted in novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar Maesa Ayu make polemic from some opinion. However novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar ...

Criticism on Saman by Ayu Utami

Apr 01, 2007 / Saman Saman: A Novel
Saman, written by Ayu Utami, a book that was controversial in Indonesia, however not so much so in North America, was trying to liberate women from social oppression. I, however, don’t think that the book ...