The Wandering

Book / Novel — Women in Translation

by Intan Paramaditha
Translated by Stephen J. Epstein

Format: Paperback, English
448 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /9781787301177
Published Feb 13, 2020 by Harvill Secker

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Also see Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu

You’ve grown roots, you’re gathering moss. You’re desperate to escape your boring life teaching English in Jakarta, to go out and see the world. So you make a Faustian pact with a devil, who gives you a gift, and a warning. A pair of red shoes to take you wherever you want to go.

You’re forever wandering, everywhere and nowhere, but where is your home?

And where will you choose to go?

To New York, to follow your dreams?

To Berlin or Amsterdam? Lima or Tijuana? Or onto a train that will never stop?

The choices you make about which pages to turn to may mean you’ll become a tourist or an undocumented migrant, a mother or a murderer, and you will meet many travellers with their own stories to tell. As your paths cross and intertwine, you’ll soon realise that no story is ever new.

The Wandering is a novel about the highs and lows of global nomadism, the politics and privileges of travel and desire, and the freedoms and limitations of the choices we make, by one of Asia’s most exciting writers. It’s a reminder that borders are real, and a playful experiment that turns the traditional adventure story on its head.

The Wandering thus resists a single narrative and gives the reader agency over what happens in the plot. In this sense, the book democratizes Paramaditha’s practice of rewriting stories. Given the author’s long-standing engagement with national myths about power and gender, this work allows us to imagine the possibility of democratizing history, too.
Lara Norgaard in It’s your Turn to (Re)Write the Story (Public Books, Aug 03, 2020)
Ultimately, The Wandering is a book about crossing borders, geographically but also those of gender, society, and fictionality. Magic aside, her portrayals of migrant life and inequality ring far too true.
Jacqueline Leung in “The Wandering” by Intan Paramaditha (Asian Review of Books, Jun 04, 2020)
Paramaditha uses the choose-your-own-adventure format to ask the reader to reflect on the choices we have, as well as the choices we don’t.
Astrid Edwards in Books Roundup: Shirl, Blueberries, The Wandering (Kill Your Darlings, Mar 11, 2020)
The meat of the book lies in the questions that take shape – about travel, and identity, and about what makes a fulfilled life. We fool ourselves into thinking that what matters is what happens, but really, life is what happens in between.
Lauren Elkin in The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha review – existential journeys (Guardian, The, Mar 06, 2020)
The most ingenious and unusual novel you will read all year, where you choose your own story.
Priyanka Mogul in Seven books to read in celebration of International Women’s Day (Asia House, Feb 20, 2020)
An innovative, thought-provoking twist on the Choose Your Own Adventure genre. Written in a compelling second-person narrative, ...
Helen Vassallo in Review: Intan Paramaditha, The Wandering (Translating Women, Feb 12, 2020)
The novel wants us to know that happiness and satisfaction is not so easily found, that answers are hard to come by, and it forces us to realise that actively, rather than passively.
Will Heath in Review: The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha (Books and Bao, Feb 12, 2020)

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