A Close Reading Of Eka Kurniawan’s Suspense-Building In ‘Man Tiger’

All Things Books / Review

About Man Tiger,
Written by Azly Rahman, and was originally published in Eurasia Review,
Jan 14, 2021


The closing lines of this 2016 Man Booker International Prize-nominated novel by Eka Kurniawan reads:

“Marry my mother and she’ll be happy.”

Anwar Sadat shook his head nervously. and his reply came out brokenly.

“That’s impossible, you know I have a wife and daughters,” Something in his face said the proposition was absurd, making what he said next redundant. “Besides, I don’t love your mother.”

That was when the tiger came out of Margio, white as swan. (pg, 172)

The story of divining and possession, set in the 1950s post-Soekarno Indonesia, about how a young man murdered an old man who was entangled in an all-too-common extra-marital affair began with a simple yet, profound line of storytelling:

“On the evening Margio killed Anwar Sadat, Kyai Jahro was blissfully busy with his fishpond.” (pg. 1)

In the following paragraphs, I shall discuss Eka Kurniawan’s craft of opening and closing the story and how he built the plot and use the element of suspense.

Read the full article here.