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Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

Book / Novel

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

by Eka Kurniawan
Translated by Annie Tucker

Format: Paperback, English
160 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /978-0811225649
Published Aug 01, 2017 by New Directions

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Vivid, bawdy, comic, and arresting, the exciting new novel by the Indonesian phenomenon, Eka Kurniawan

Told in short, cinematic bursts, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is gloriously pulpy. Ajo Kawir, a lower-class Javanese teenage boy excited about sex, likes to spy on fellow villagers in flagrante, but one night he ends up witnessing the savage rape of a beautiful crazy woman by two policemen. Deeply traumatized, he becomes impotent. His efforts to get his virility back all fail, and Ajo Kawir turns to fighting as a way to vent his frustrations. He gets such a fearsome reputation as a brawler that he is hired to kill a thug named The Tiger, but instead Ajo Kawir falls in love with Iteung, a gorgeous female bodyguard who works for the local mafia. Alas, the course of true love never did run smooth… Fast-forward a decade. Now a truck driver, Ajo Kawir has reached a new equanimity, thinking that his penis may be trying to teach him a lesson and even consulting it in many situations as if it were his guru―love may yet triumph.

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash shows Eka Kurniawan in a gritty, comic, pungent mode that fans of Quentin Tarantino will appreciate. But even with its liberal peppering of fights, high-speed car chases, and ladies heaving with desire, the novel continues to explore Kurniawan’s familiar themes of female agency in a violent male world dominated by petty criminals and a corrupt police state.

Other/Related Editions

The translated prose is graphic, pulpy, fun to read, and the style of the novel is cinematic, with discreet scenes spanning the childhood and adult life of Ajo Kawir, the main character.  
Scott Pactor   in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (2017) by Eka Kurniawan (Personal Blog, May 06, 2020)
Alternative masculinity post #MeToo is still a hatchling, here and in Indonesia—I will be reading Eka’s work to see how it might grow and spread its wings.
Annie Tucker   in Of Sleeping Birds and Limp Dicks (Popula, Aug 07, 2018)
After the ambition and squalid lyricism of his previous novels, Man Tiger and Beauty is a Wound, the latest from the Indonesian wunderkind is pure Hobbesian deliverance: nasty, brutish and short.
Adam Rivett   in Eka Kurniawan’s Vengeance Is Mine is limp venture into violence (Australian, Jan 13, 2018)
For some, and those fans of Tarantino-type violence and action, they may find this a light-hearted romp in an ‘‘exotic’’ and unusual location.
Jessie Neilson   in One for fans of Tarantino-type violence (Otago Daily Times, Nov 06, 2017)
Vengeance is a different animal from Eka’s first two novels, though more akin in pitch, pace and subject matter to his second — Man Tiger, which was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize — than to his sprawling and lyrical first, Beauty Is a Wound.
Tiffany Tsao   in Pulp horror (Mekong Review, Nov 01, 2017)
With so much hype in the beginning, by the time we reach the end, we realise it was all so overrated.
Preeja Aravind   in Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash: Review (Free Press Journal, Oct 22, 2017)
In order to explain why this new book marks a misstep in its author’s already distinguished career, it seems only right to begin with a brief, decades-spanning story.
Jackson Arn   in Jackson Arn reviews Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan (Asymptote, Oct 19, 2017)
It’s fairly literary, fairly obtuse, and a little bit like Tarantino’s lesser known stuff at a stretch.
Emily Paull   in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is a standout title, but falls flat (AU Review, Oct 09, 2017)
Combining high-octane action, black comedy, gratuitous, almost camp brutality, and a feminist premise, Vengeance is Mine ... does feel pulpy and Tarantino-like
Cameron Woodhead   in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash review: Eka Kurniawan’s pulp dark comedy (Sydney Morning Herald, Sep 28, 2017)
Vengeance illustrates a knotted community, where propriety and rage and survival coexist.
Jane Yong Kim   in Eka Kurniawan’s Darkly Comic Tale of Boyhood (Atlantic, Sep 15, 2017)
Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash will not be to every reader’s taste. The violence, sexual and otherwise, approaches the pornographic, but this serves to amplify the force of Kurniawan’s critique of the appalling sexism that he sees in Indonesian society.
Keshava Guha   in This bird also rises (Hindu, Sep 15, 2017)
As high-end pulp fiction, Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is superb.
Tim Hannigan   in “Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash” by Eka Kurniawan (Asian Review of Books, Sep 14, 2017)
It’s an excellent read, both entertaining and intriguing, with far more to the story than first appears.
Tony Malone   in ‘Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash’ by Eka Kurniawan (Review) (Personal Blog, Sep 07, 2017)
Kurniawan (Beauty Is a Wound) tells the ribald, noir-inflected, and oddly epic story of a man’s quest to regain his sexual virility.
— in Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (Publishers Weekly, Sep 04, 2017)
Whether or not a political fable is intended, the squelch of blood and the crack of breaking bones tends to muffle any deeper message.
Suzi Feay   in Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan — street fighter (Financial Times, Aug 18, 2017)
Vengeance Is Mine has many brilliant moments. But up against the achievements of his first two translated novels, this one feels a little, well, flaccid.
Bradley Babendir   in Impotent Rage: Eka Kurniawan’s “Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash” (Los Angeles Review of Books, Aug 16, 2017)
Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash can be a charming novel, even big-hearted, despite some very dark events.
CR   in Eka Kurniawan: Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (Saturday Paper, Aug 05, 2017)
At just 208 pages, Vengeance Is Mine proffers a sly, sideways glance at Indonesian society and packs an audaci­ous punch all of its own.
Bron Sibree   in Eka Kurniawan’s brutal novel on Indonesian masculinity is not for the faint-hearted (SCMP, Jul 19, 2017)
EKA KURNIAWAN’S hugely inventive fiction is a potent blend of grounded realism and flighty fantasy.
— in Riding high: The secrets of Indonesia’s finest novelist (The Economist, Jul 13, 2017)

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