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‘Semen, blood and excrement’: the Indonesian novel that’s like story-telling on acid

Book Chronicles / Review

In this article:
Beauty Is A Wound

Written by Karim Raslan, originally published in SCMP

Oct 28, 2016

Prize-winning author Eka Kurniawan’s latest novel Beauty is a Wound isn’t for the squeamish – but his writing is ‘the real thing’ Prize-winning Indonesian novelist Eka Kurniawan isn’t for the squeamish. Packed with semen, menstrual blood, excrement and urine, his tour-de-force, Beauty is a Wound (originally published as Cinta itu Luka) isn’t “la-di-da” chic-lit, an “adultery-in-bourgeois-Hampstead” novella or Euro-crime noir. Instead, Kurniawan hurls his readers deep into the heart of Java, reminding us along the way that the world’s most densely-populated island (one hundred and fifty million souls and counting on an area the size of England...) is far more rambunctious than the “sopan santun”, carefully-calibrated demeanour and unblinking passivity of its courtly elite with their slow-moving palace dances and often indecipherable double-speak. The novel is like story-telling on acid.

Read the full article here.

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