Why I Wrote a Novel About Indonesian Political Exiles

Work(s) in English

Written by Leila S. Chudori, and published as a part of Reformations: Indonesian Literature in Translation. Sep 24, 2015


‘For me, who grew up and became an adult during the New Order period, I was conscious of a historical and political absurdity. I began to feel that there were some Indonesians who had become invisible.’

The year was 1988 and I had traveled to Paris on my way back home to Jakarta after graduating from Trent University in Ontario, Canada. At Rue de Vaugirard, in Paris’s sixth arrondissement, stood the restaurant Indonésia, a cooperative set up six years prior, in 1982, by Indonesian political exiles who had fled to Paris in the 1960s: Oemar Said, Sobron Aidit, J.J. Kusni, and Sudharsono. It was through my encounter with that restaurant that the novel Pulang or Home was born.

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