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A Year of Reading the World

Book Chronicles / Selected


In this article:
Birth Canal
Dias Novita Wuri


Written by Xiao Yue Shan , originally published in Asymptote

Dec 14, 2023

Every month, the Asymptote Book Club shares a newly published, translated title with readers and subscribers. From Nobel laureates to electrifying debuts, this selection features some of the most powerful voices writing in any language, opening up an entry into the immense archives of wold literature. In this essay, we look back on the books of 2023 thus far.

Birth Canal by Indonesian author Dias Novita Wuri is, as its title suggests, a book of transformations. Our selection for the month of September, this profound, layered novel braids together the disparate storylines of six women as they change and are changed, confronted by gendered expectations, political repressions, and colonial legacies. Wuri’s characters are comfort women, mothers, porn stars, and office workers, connected to form a multi-dimensional constellation of sexuality, mother/daughterhood, societal and domestic abuses of power, and how one moves through it—how one adopts an event, whether it’s of an abortion or a war, into a sense of self. Translated by the author herself, Birth Canal is lucid and evocative, extending the image-concept of birth into broader channels of metamorphosis, and thus investigating how pieces from various lives are passed down or passed through. Here, aliveness is not a singular mode of existence, but an endlessly interactive form of mutualities and possibilities.

Read the full article here.



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