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7 Questions for Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Book Review / Interview


The Booker Prize website has this wonderful line on its page about your collection: “Powerful blend of science fiction, absurdism and alternative-historical realism that aims to destabilise the heteronormative world and expose its underlying rot.” Reading these stories, I see the evidence of this. Who else in literature and culture is doing this work?


I have no idea. I might not be knowledgeable enough regarding this. I think I was attracted to Indonesian absurdists (like the brilliant Budi Darma) because I feel I had an absurd upbringing. But I wrote so differently from them. It goes the same with other writers I love: Herta Müller, Claudia Rankine, Mary Gordon, et al. Personally, I initially didn’t realize that I was doing something special, this thing people call “blend.” I think it’s just normal for a writer to mix stuff. If I don’t get to experiment when I write, what’s in it for me?

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