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Indonesia (dan dunia) macam apa sih, yang kita inginkan? Bisakah kita (kembali) membentuknya melalui kesusastraan? Atau sudah kalah telak oleh citra yang dibangun sosial media dan berita palsu? Atau jangan-jangan kesusastraan kita sudah tercerabut dari problem-problem sosial zaman dan masyarakatnya, sehingga bahkan memimpikan dunia macam apa pun yang diinginkannya sudah tidak dilakukan lagi?

Kuliah Umum

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From the front page of Le Monde des Livres, November 17th: “Avec «Les Belles de Halimunda», son premier roman, Eka Kurniawan tresse, entre onirisme et vraisemblance, une extraordinaire épopée indonésienne.”

While Les Belles de Halimunda (Beauty Is a Wound) just released in French, almost at the same time Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash was published in English. Jackson Arn has a review of the book in Asymptote; as Free Press Journal said about it … “Kurniawan also skilfully manages to save his pulp fiction type novel from getting into that genre.”

From Otago Daily Times, NZ, we found they compared the book with Tarantino-type violence, “… they may find this a light-hearted romp in an ‘‘exotic’’ and unusual location.” In other place, Tiffany Tsao in Mekong Review argued that, “The influence of so-called lowbrow fiction on Eka’s work has never been a secret … But to see this as a failing would be to make a grievous error.”

And don’t forget about my second novel, Man Tiger, that Manila Book Review called it as a “story of a great rage.”

November Notes

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Here are some recent reviews for Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (New Directions, Pushkin Press, Text Publishing, Speaking Tiger):

“And as high-end pulp fiction, Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is superb.” – Tim Hannigan, Asian Review of Books.

“A darkly comic tale of boyhood” – Jane Yong Kim, The Atlantic.

Vengeance is wonderfully entertaining, and highly cinematic, its critique of patriarchal Indonesian society wrapped in picaresque adventure and anarchic comedy.” – Keshava Guha, The Hindu.

“Indonesian-born Eka Kurniawan is one of the most exciting writers active today. Vengeance Is Mine, All Other Pay Cash is a madcap noir featuring an impotent gangster who undertakes a violent and epic quest to regain use of his ‘little bird’. encountering bewitching martial artists, truck drivers, and vicious criminals along the way.” – The Culture Trip.

I had some interviews with Italian media when I was in Mantova last week, here one of them form Il Libraio (for those who read Italian): Eka Kurniawan, che ha portato “il realismo magico nella varietà della letteratura indonesiana”.

And here is my short story published by Vice, translated by Annie Tucker. Originally published in Indonesian as “Pengantar Tidur Panjang”. This is one from my first story collection in English translation, Kitchen Curse, forthcoming from Verso Books.

Reviews, Story and Interview

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“… habitually drives his narra­tives between the extreme poles of the crass and the sublime, the tragic and the comedic, the surreal and the real.” – South China Morning Post, “Eka Kurniawan’s brutal novel on Indonesian masculinity is not for the faint-hearted”

“It’s funny, enraging, and touching.” – Village Voice, “NYC’s Best Independent Booksellers Share Their Picks For Summer Reading”

“I believe the phrase is ‘page-turner.’” – Words Without Borders, “The Watchlist: July 2017”

Vengeance Is Mine, Links