Book Stories


East Timor: The Final Hour

Jul 16, 2012 / Timor Timur Satu Menit Terakhir: Catatan Seorang Wartawan
The publication of the book from which the following excerpt is taken not only resulted in the loss of my 20-year tenure as war correspondent for Kompas Daily, the highest circulation national newspaper in Indonesia, but also in my ongoing exile in the US due to threats to my life. The book created controversy because of its explicitly unbiased coverage of the atrocities committed in East Timor between July and November 1999 in which I name East Timorese factions responsible for numerous deaths, but more seriously the names of Indonesian National Army figureheads that were involved in conspiracy and campaign propaganda days before the referendum.   The excerpt is taken from Chapter III and describes events that took place in Dili, the capital of East Timor, between the day of the vote and the day the results were confirmed.  A million thanks to Linda Gaboriau and Dylan K Widjiono for their contribution to this translation.

In Twilight Born

Jul 08, 2012 / All That Is Gone
When I was growing up, my family home was filled with young men – some of them my older foster brothers, the rest of them student boarders. One of my foster brothers was Hurip, who had recently graduated from the state junior high school in the provincial capital of Semarang. As is common with young men, one of the group’s favorite pastimes was gathering to shoot the breeze. Though I couldn’t understand much of what they talked about, I can recall some of what they said. Hurip, who was especially vocal, made the following comment one day: “What this country needs is dynamism. Our people are frozen in time. For once and for all, we need the courage to reject the idea that working for the government as a civil servant should be our ideal!”

“Indonesian Writing in Translation” edited by John M Echols

Jan 01, 2012 / Indonesian Writing in Translation
Indonesian Writing in Translation is a 2009 reissue of the 1956 Cornell anthology of translated modern Indonesian literature written in Indonesian during the 1950s. That classic, now a rarity, was originally published by two Djakarta publishing houses, Balai Pustaka and Pustaka Rakjat. Because of the lack of available material, the compilation originated as a series of class exercises performed by some of the editor’s students at Cornell University as a part of his advanced modern Indonesian language course during the years 1952-1955, presenting a brief survey of the literature being published during the time.

Bilangan Fu

Apr 23, 2011 / Bilangan Fu
Ayu Utami is one of my favorite Indonesian authors. The supernatural-spiritual tales on the story, featured with urban legend and folktales are her signature which made the story very Indonesia. She wouldn’t hesitate to bring ...

Review: Modern family

Dec 17, 2010 / 9 dari Nadira
What makes Leila S. Chudori’s 9 dari Nadira such an enjoyable read and an excellent piece of literature? This novel stands out because it touches upon a wide range of emotions and aspects of the ...

A Thrill Ride to Afghanistan

Jun 27, 2010 / Selimut Debu
Several years ago, a man dreamed of traveling to Afghanistan to see what was behind the dust — the seemingly endless war, the grenades, the refugees, the Taliban. In his dream, he saw two gigantic ...

Unveiling Sexuality and social insanity

Apr 11, 2010 / Entrok
There was a time when this country had an authoritarian leader who knew nothing but the accumulation of wealth and power to maintain control over society. He used military and civilian personnel to intimidate the people ...

Gerhana Kembar, a novel by Clara Ng

Nov 27, 2008 / Gerhana Kembar
Lendy, book editor on big publishing house got bit surprise when she found old manuscript and letters in her grandmother’s cupboard. Now, her grandmother’s is dying because of cancer in hospital. Lendy read the story ...

Theme level issues in novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar Maesa Ayu

Jan 01, 2008 / Saman Saman: A Novel
Problem or theme which is lifted in novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar Maesa Ayu make polemic from some opinion. However novel Saman masterpiece Ayu Utami and novel Nayla masterpiece Djenar ...

Criticism on Saman by Ayu Utami

Apr 01, 2007 / Saman Saman: A Novel
Saman, written by Ayu Utami, a book that was controversial in Indonesia, however not so much so in North America, was trying to liberate women from social oppression. I, however, don’t think that the book ...