Book Stories


Tale of the Bidadari by Stephani Soejono

Feb 12, 2018 / The Tale of Bidadari
Eriang visits a remote village with his father, a doctor, on a mercy mission. From the architecture and headdress worn by the womenfolk, this community seems to be Minangkabau. Furthermore, the village chief is a woman: the Minangkabau are largest matrilineal society in the world.

Jakarta author seeks a lighter side of Islam

Feb 10, 2018 / Bukan Perawan Maria
Around the time half a million ­Indonesian Muslims packed Jakarta’s national monument park in late 2016 to pray for the blasphemy conviction of the city’s Christian governor, Feby Indirani decided to test reaction to her new collection of religious parodies by publishing one online. It’s fair to say the feedback to Baby Wants to Convert , in which a pig called Baby seeks permission to convert to Islam, was mixed.

Disobedient women

Feb 09, 2018 / Apple and Knife
When you hear the term “Indonesian woman”, what comes to mind? When Sihir Perempuan was published in 2005, Intan Paramaditha was only twenty-five and on the verge of leaving Indonesia for graduate studies in the United States. She has been wandering ever since. However, her debut collection of short stories, whose title can be translated as “Black Magic Woman”, has left its mark on many Indonesian readers. It has influenced a handful of younger writers, like Guntur Alam and Eve Shi, and turned Paramaditha’s work into a sort of gothic, feminist cult.

Riot RoundUp: The Best Books We Read in January

Feb 05, 2018 / Beauty Is A Wound
This is a fabulous book set in Indonesia during and after WWII. The best comparison I could give you is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s tragic and funny and gruesome and beautiful. This book is epic. It is everything. I loved it so much. Writing about it now is making me think about it again, and I can’t believe this isn’t more widely read! It should be! Everyone should read it! Kurniawan has a beautiful talent.

Feby Indirani: Writing religious parodies

Jan 22, 2018 / 69 Things To Be Grateful About Being Single Bukan Perawan Maria
Mary is pregnant without ever having intercourse with a man. Without being married. Such a miracle happened when Jesus was born fatherless. Nowadays, who would believe that Mary was impregnated without having intercourse? Those sentences appeared in the opening of a short story penned by Indonesian author Feby Indirani titled Bukan Perawan Maria (Not Virgin Mary). It was included in an eponymous short story anthology published by Pabrikultur last year.

Sit Back and Relax with Bukan Perawan Maria

Jan 20, 2018 / Bukan Perawan Maria
Talking about religion, Feby Indirani responds to the situation by writing many short stories that she compiled in a collection book, Bukan Perawan Maria (BPM/Not a Virgin Mary). The book speaks of religion in a very relaxed tone. Feby invites readers and the public to relax. For her, Religious Relaxation is the spirit. If reading religious themes usually makes the forehead wrinkled and gives people hard-feeling, it doesn’t with this book. Just take things slow. All stories are short which you can finish it in some mouthfuls. You won’t get too full, but just full.

Staff Picks: Vengeance, Evil, and Grace

Jan 19, 2018 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
I recently read Eka Kurniawan’s novel Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash as if either the book or I were outfitted with afterburners. Vengeance is a comic picaresque that the publisher has likened to a Quentin Tarantino film; Kurniawan’s prose, translated from the Indonesian by Annie Tucker, is pungent and blunt, but there’s more talk of fighting than actual fights, and a scene in which a pair of 18-wheelers battle for dominance at high speeds on a two-lane road could not have been reproduced in film to such great effect.

Eka Kurniawan’s Vengeance Is Mine is limp venture into violence

Jan 13, 2018 / Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
After the ambition and squalid lyricism of his previous novels, Man Tiger and Beauty is a Wound, the latest from the Indonesian wunderkind is pure Hobbesian deliverance: nasty, brutish and short. Yet what might have at least offered teenage kicks — the PR blurb optimistically evokes Quentin Tarantino — instead grinds away joylessly and aimlessly, without ever truly coming to life.

Leila S. Chudori’s evolving journey

Jan 08, 2018 / Laut Bercerita
“Try to count them, I dare you,” Tempo veteran journalist and author Leila S. Chudori responded in protest over an assertion that fictional stories on the 1965 coup and subsequent killings of members and sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were trending. Leila, who has just launched another book Laut Bercerita (The Sea Speaks His Name), recently visited Australia to discuss her latest work in sessions at the University of Melbourne’s Indonesia Forum and Australian National University’s Indonesia Project. Previously, she published the award-winning novel Pulang (Homecoming), which focuses on the human impact of the 1965-1966 killings and their aftermath.

‘Gentayangan’ Takes Readers on Adventures to Question Identity and Belonging

Jan 08, 2018 / Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu
"Gentayangan" is an Indonesian term referring to the dead who, instead of proceeding to the hereafter, haunt the living. In Intan's book, the word points to women tempted to cross geographical and social boundaries.