Book Stories

9 dari Nadira (9 from Nadira) by Leila S. Chudori – Part 2

Nov 16, 2014 / 9 dari Nadira
I debated whether or not I should write another post for Leila S. Chudori’s 9 dari Nadira (9 from Nadira). After reading my initial review for it, I felt like I really should. I didn’t ...

9 dari Nadira (9 from Nadira) by Leila S. Chudori

Nov 10, 2014 / 9 dari Nadira
Leila S. Chudori has been a figure in Indonesia’s literary landscape for almost forty years now. She became a published author at the tender age of twelve (!!!), having written children’s shorts for Indonesian magazines. ...

What “Bule Hunters” Want

Aug 29, 2014 / Bule Hunter: Kisah Para Perempuan Pemburu Bule
Indonesian women who have Western partners or husbands are often met with negative, sometimes harsh judgment from people around them, from gold diggers to exotic-looking harlots. ​When you see an Indonesian woman with brown complexion ...

Remy Sylado’s “Perempuan Bernama Arjuna” book review

Aug 05, 2014 / Perempuan Bernama Arjuna
“Thousands of years ago, The Chinese has been written about the knowledge of yin and yang. They believe that the two forces of yin and yang, manifested through any series of human organs, the lungs, ...

Life’s course in lyrics

Jul 03, 2014 / Before Dawn: The Poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono
As a Jack-of-all-literary trades—as essayist, short-story writer, translator, and poet—Sapardi Djoko Damono is best known asIndonesia’s foremost lyricist whose career meanwhile spans five decades of published work. It is the first four of these that are reflected in this collection of some 135 poems (1961-2001). The poetry is presented in chronological order, so yielding glimpses of a life in lyrics from young man to the loneliness of old age and of having been through it all. In other words, the subject matter of the collection is the experience of life. It is an existential exploration of “who are you, who am I?” that unfolds in amazingly effective language, touching on life's salient points, clarifying them as it were while making them accessible to others. A very effective device to do just that, is that the poet is never alone but always accompanied by “something walking besides you”. It is a soliloquy, and at the same time an internal dialogue between an ego and its alter.

Twilight in Jakarta by Mochtar Lubis

Jul 01, 2014 / Twilight in Djakarta
Twilight in Jakarta is a vivid and compassionate dissection of the social and political life of Jakarta in the formative years after independence. This important book reveals the dark currents of poverty, corruption and vice which course just beneath the surface of one of the great cities of the Third World, where the lives of intellectuals, poets, essayists, sociologists, swaggering businessman and labor leaders are enmeshed with thugs, pickpockets, petty thieves, loan sharks, coolies and street people who live in grinding abysmal poverty.

Jennifer Mackenzie reviews The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak

May 17, 2014 / The Question of Red: A Novel
From where she was standing, on the backyard of the hospital, the only objects she could make out were the parts chosen by the dying light. Idlehorse carts, bamboo bushes deep in sleep, an abandoned ...

Ikhda, by Ikhda by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi

May 04, 2014 / Ikhda, by Ikhda
Ikhda, by Ikhda is fresh air on the page. The collection is bound by the tumult of language and expression as it travels through the everyday-turned-surreal to the touching and tender will of a mother ...

One novel; two very different versions

Mar 20, 2014 / The Rainbow Troops: A Novel
Andrea Hirata's novel "The Rainbow Troops" is the first Indonesian novel to become an international bestseller. Interestingly, the version available outside Indonesia is very different to the one familiar to Indonesian readers. Bettina David explores why.

Postcolonial Life and Death: A Process-Based Comparison of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Ayu Utami’s Saman

Mar 01, 2014 / Saman Saman: A Novel
This comparative study of Wuthering Heights (a mid-nineteenth-century British novel by Emily Brontë) and Saman (a late-twentieth-century Indonesian novel by Ayu Utami) examines the two novels’ respective treatments of internal colonization — a shared thematic ...