‘I can walk… because I have legs’ Putu Oka Sukanta’s novel ‘Spaces’

All Things Books / Review

About Spaces: Reflections on a Journey,
Written by Julia Suryakusuma, and was originally published in Jakarta Post,
Oct 28, 2019


“I can walk, not because someone made a path for me, but because I have legs.”I consider this the defining statement in Spaces, the English-language version of Putu Oka Sukanta’s 2018 Celah. The author himself describes his book as “a work that weaves together elements of fact and the workings of the imagination”, i.e. a novel. A caveat: I have known Putu for over 30 years and know much about his life (and he mine!). I cannot read the book as fiction as there are events in the novel that I have seen with my own eyes, and conversations I have heard with my own ears. Hopefully, the fact that I know the author so well still enables me both to review the book objectively, and also write about a man I consider an older brother and an inspiration.

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