Book Ambassadors: What our envoys abroad are reading this summer

All Things Books / Recos

About Beauty Is A Wound,
and was originally published in The Irish Times,
Aug 04, 2020

As we stay in Ireland, our diplomats recommend books to bring the world to you.


Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (2002)
Kurniawan is Indonesia’s modern literary star, although he is little known outside this country. Beauty is a Wound was written nearly 20 years ago but translated into English only in 2015. The novel follows the fortunes of the prostitute Dewi Ayu and her community during the formative years of the Indonesian state. The author’s use of the supernatural and nods towards traditional folk practices, as well as pulp and dark humour, make it a very enjoyable, if sometimes disturbing, read, which also feels uniquely Indonesian. At its heart, however, it is really a story about the violent legacy of colonialism, occupation and intra communal conflict in Indonesia, all of which continue to shape the modern, complex Indonesia.
— Olivia Leslie, Ambassador, Jakarta

Read the full article here.