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Family Room, by Lily Yulianti Farid, Translated by John H. McGlynn

Family Room is a dynamic collection of short stories by Indonesian author Lily Yulianti Farid, with whom I will be ‘in conversation’ at the forthcoming Bendigo Writing Festival. (If you haven’t got your tickets yet, here’s the link: you can buy a session ticket, or a festival pass which gets you … [Read more...]

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

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 … [Read more...]

Getting schooled

IKAL and his ten classmates, who call themselves “the rainbow troops”, attend the only free school in the poorest part of Belitong Island in Indonesia. They learn their times tables with twigs; there is no toilet and when rain leaks through the roof they study under umbrellas at their desks. But … [Read more...]

Book Review: Saman

A schoolgirl falls in love with her teacher; a priest defends a rural village and loses faith in God; a woman plans an affair with a married man. Such are the plot lines in Ayu Utami’s Saman, a 1998 romance novel that became a cultural sensation in Indonesia following its publication. At first … [Read more...]

Julia’s War On Almost Everything

When Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came to power in 2004, the general consensus was that he was the best thing to happen to Indonesia since the fall of Soeharto. Today, it is hard to find anyone with much praise for SBY. Many Indonesians are yearning for a “strong-man” president and believe that … [Read more...]