Intan Paramaditha: ‘Travel was unattainable for me – I thought America only existed on TV’

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About Intan Paramaditha,
Written by Matthew Janney, and was originally published in Guardian, The,
Mar 05, 2020


“Onism”, according to John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (an online “fictionary” for ineffable feelings), is “the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die – and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.”

Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha’s recent book The Wandering, a socially observant choose-your-own adventure novel, is the epitome of onism. Structured like one of the Choose Your Own Adventure series from the 1980s and 90s that Paramaditha read as a child, this novel is no gimmicky remake or nostalgic paean. Instead, Paramaditha adapts the form to serve her subject matter: travel, around which she draws questions of mobility, agency and representation into orbit.

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