All for a Son

Works in Translation


Guntur Alam, translated by Maya Saputra
Published as a part of Diverse Indonesia: Next Generation, Jan 24, 2016

First published in Dari Salawat Dedaunan sampai Kunang-kunang di Langit Jakarta: 20 Tahun Cerpen Pilihan KOMPAS as Mar Beranak di Limas Isa.


I’m going to tell you a story about Aunt Maryam, Uncle Isa’s wife. Although she was already in her forties, she still kept having babies. The people of Tanah Abang village in South Sumatra called her Bi (Aunt) Mar.

Let’s begin this story early one night, when there was no moon in the dark universe, and when the rustle of a breeze signaling rain had blown since dusk fell. The location, to be exact, is the stuffy room belonging to Bi Mar and Mang (Uncle) Isa in their limas, a South Sumatran traditional house, standing not far from the banks of Lematang River. This story opens with the words of Kajut Mis, a traditional midwife in my village of Tanah Abang.

Read the full story here.