Leila S. Chudori’s novel The Sea Speaks His Name goes in search of missing Indonesian student activists

All Things Books / Interview

About The Sea Speaks His Name,
Written by Olivia Ho, and was originally published in The Straits Times,
Aug 24, 2020


In the two years after his disappearance, the family of kidnapped student activist Biru Laut continue to lay his place at the table every Sunday. They play the record of his favourite song, Blackbird by The Beatles, and wait for him to come home.

Laut may be the fictional protagonist of Indonesian writer Leila S. Chudori’s novel The Sea Speaks His Name, but what his family goes through is based on the real-life accounts of those whose children vanished into political detention in the 1990s, during the last days of President Suharto’s regime.

Chudori, 57, won the South-east Asia Write Award for this novel, which was published in 2017 in Indonesian as Laut Bercerita.

Read the full article here.