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The Absurdist Meets Jane Austen in Bloomington

Book Chronicles / Excerpt

In this article:
People from Bloomington

Written by Intan Paramaditha, originally published in Nation

Apr 12, 2022

I first read Budi Darma’s Orang-orang Bloomington (“People from Bloomington”) at a very young age and had little understanding of the book other than that it is a collection of stories about the lives of white people in America. My second and more exciting encounter with Budi Darma happened much later, in my early 30s, when I was writing my novel, The Wandering, about a Third World woman who travels the globe with a pair of cursed red shoes. As I engaged with the themes of global mobility and cosmopolitanism in my novel, I researched Indonesian authors who, like myself, had lived abroad and written stories set outside Indonesia. I was in Amsterdam on a fellowship and decided to pick up a copy of People from Bloomington from the KITLV library in Leiden. It was a strange way to reconnect with Budi Darma and realize that he, too, was a writer in transit. He wrote the book in 1979 when he was a PhD student at a university in the United States, just like I was when I was writing my novel, and he produced some of the Bloomington stories in Europe, en route to Indonesia.

Read the full article here.

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