Works (Originally in English)


A collection of works originally published in English.

Mar 02, 2020

On the Complicated Questions Around Writing About Travel

by Intan Paramaditha
"Travel was and will always be about exclusion." Jakarta, 1994: I wanted to write a story about magic slippers that would take me anywhere. I ended up writing a novel about demonic red shoes as an adult, with more complex reasons than fulfilling my simple wish to go to Singapore, but there were times when travel was an unattainable obsession. I thought of Singapore because my imagination as a Third-World 90s teen did not stretch far enough. Japan was too costly, Cambodia was unthinkable, and America only existed on TV. Singapore was the place where my wealthy friends would go shopping, although they also visited other countries. In one girl’s house, I saw a family photo in Dutch costume taken in Volendam, and in another girl’s mansion, photos of family vacation to Disneyland California were hung on the wall. Our friendship lasted long, despite being occasionally haunted by the not-so-ghostly presence of different class. My parents lived in Jakarta as common people, raising two kids who would be common people, doing whatever common people do.
Jan 18, 2020

Letter in a used milk can

by Angelina Enny
Hello, When you receive this letter, which I stored in a used milk can, please hand it to the one it is intended for, my mother. Of course, I know I shouldn’t really throw used milk cans into the ocean. Maybe sometime later, you can come by my house – I wrote the address on the back of the can – so you can tell me that you handed the letter to my mother, and that you disposed of the can in the proper place, because according to Bu Salimah, my teacher, waste tins will pollute the ocean and make fish sick. Please forgive me, but I so want to talk to my mother and I don’t know how else to send her this letter. Okay, you can have a look at it, for I am pretty certain that – in the end – you will be the one handing it to my mother.
Dec 05, 2019

Trials of fiction: We lose the battle again

by Okky Madasari
A half century after the first defeat of the imagination of a short story in court, leading to the imprisonment of leading literature critic HB Jassin, we have lost a second battle against irrationality, arrogance and backwardness. Again we are witnessing the curbing of creativity that should otherwise flourish and bring this nation forward into the realm of reason and progress. Back in 1968, Jassin, then-chief editor of Sastra (Literature) magazine, was jailed for blasphemy as he had published a story which had personalized God and Prophet Muhammad, a taboo in Islam. Titled Langit Makin Mendung (The Darkening Sky), it was written by Kipandjikusmin, a pen name whose real identity Jassin refused to disclose.
Aug 01, 2018

Call Me By Your Name, Which Is Irresponsible and Not Meteoric

by Norman Erikson Pasaribu
We both know it’s easier between two beautiful people We both know it’s easier when it’s a nice mountain mansion in Italy with a shallow pool and a live-in adult-nanny And we both know it’s easier since it’s summer with ripe-pink peaches and nobody interfering without knocking “He looks like he never has to work a day in his life,” your friend said over Vietnamese coffee, while you are feeling despair, feeling ugly (must be the weather’s blue) “But how do you hate a movie this good?”
Jul 19, 2018

from mongrel kampung

by Mikael Johani
real chic hero the übermensch is a rara avis the rare bird is a l’étranger the outsider is a theos apo mekhanes the deus ex machina is a peregrine mencina kinezopeisi, or the panacea of ...
Mar 05, 2018

Two new poems by Mikael Johani

by Mikael Johani
The Johannesburg Review of Books presents previously unpublished poetry by Mikael Johani: chapel hill and canto cxviii (i forget most everything).
Jan 07, 2018

Dioscuri

by Dias Novita Wuri
18 December, 2038 CASE HISTORY Identifying Information: NN, 19 year old man of Australian-Caucasian ethnicity, is one of the early-generation clones, a perfectly identical copy of his deceased brother (also bore the same name), who died in 2018 at the age of 20 due to an incurable heart defect. Now lives in Borneo (then Indonesia) with his parents, and is in his third year in the University of Indo-Australia, New Meikarta (then Palangkaraya).
Jan 06, 2018

Churning Waters

by Madina Malahayati Chumaera
jakarta is silent like no other – the ghost of honking cars and scorching heat haunting its horizon, as if the city is saying: it was not supposed to be like this. the water crashing against skyscrapers and concrete isn't a welcome soundscape. wulandari steps out of the paraheli with a grace that can only be derived from frailness. she’s trying, honestly – but she knows she’s failing. to be stronger in that grace, to keep her head high and walk to the edge of the viewing platform without a trace of pain in her features – for the cameras around her; for this wretched, lovely city; and for herself. she looks out to this city that she tried her best to save – but seeing the destruction, even amongst the new and glittering structure built on top of its deceivingly calm waters, just breaks her chest even more.
Jan 05, 2018

Heels of Apocalyptic End

by Ziggy Zezsyazeo viennazabrizkie
“I was born here.” “In this city?” “In this city,” she nodded. I liked how her hair moved when she nodded. It’s like a black cascade. I cut it once in a while, and she let me keep the scraps in a tin box. In return, I brought candles; three at a time. She likes real things. Real person. Real fire. Real legs. She’s holding them now, the candles. Close to her breasts, like a mother and her new-born. “Is this still the capital?” she asked. Waiting no affirmation, her face contorted in dazzled frown. “How do they even function as capital?”
Jan 03, 2018

BRAM

by Mikael Johani
FUCK. The sun is fucking blinding. Why did I forget to close the fucking cover? The rats in Kampung Bali are fucking THICC! Why am I speaking in retroslang? ZZZZZ. I can’t go back to sleep now. Have to get out of this dumpster. Was good though this one, the vegies were fresh, didn’t smell too bad. The hydrolettuces were fat and juicy, I could hear ‘em melt from the heat of my own body last night. I’ve got to do it today, yeh, gotta set my priority straight meng. Gotta join LA Résistongs. Buswit was zapped last week. Yusi two days ago. Maes just yesterday. They’re coming for me. BRAM**. BRAM is coming for me. Fuck him. Fuck this dumpster life. Ah yeah, at least that was a good dump. That public toilet has always been good to me. I like that bitch who mans it. (((The bitch who mans it))) HAHA! She’s so beautiful I could fuck her right now. But not now. She’s too stupid. I’m not gonna get anything out of her. Probably just how many people pay her the 5 million*** Giramondos to use the fucking toilet so far today, how many yesterday, the day before that, blablabla. She also cooks for that Indomie warung around the corner, maybe she also has memories of who orders what flavour which order comes with chopped rawit on the side.