Beauty is A Wound – English-language debut of a celebrated Indonesian author

All Things Books / Review

About Beauty Is A Wound,
and was originally published in Kirkus Reviews,
Jun 14, 2015

English-language debut of a celebrated Indonesian author.

“One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for 21 years.”

With this surprising sentence, Kurniawan sets the stage for an epic picaresque that’s equal parts Canterbury Tales and Mahabharata. Weaving back in forth in time, moving from character to character, the author tells the story of Indonesia from its Dutch colonial days, through the Japanese occupation during World War II, and into independence as a modern state. Kurniawan’s characters are broadly drawn, but they aren’t one-dimensional.

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