Kitchen Curse

Short stories
Translated by Annie Tucker, Benedict Anderson, Tiffany Tsao and Maggie Tiojakin
The stories originally published in Corat-coret di Toilet, Gelak Sedih, Cinta Tak Ada Mati and Perempuan Patah Hati yang Kembali Menemukan Cinta Melalui Mimpi

Published by: Verso Books 2019, (World); Speaking Tiger, 2019 (India)

The acclaimed, Booker-nominated novelist’s first book of stories Hailed as a Southeast Asian Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the exuberant beauty of his prose and the darkly comic surrealism of his stories, Eka Kurniawan is the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for a Man Booker Prize. Here is his first collection of short stories–Indonesian literature’s characteristic form–to be translated into English. 

A man captures a caronang, a strange, intelligent dog that walks upright, and brings it home, only to provoke an all-too-human outcome. A girl plots against a witch doctor whose crimes against her are, infuriatingly, like any other man’s. Stories explore the turbulent dreams of an ex-prostitute, a perpetual student, victims of anti-communist genocide, an elephant, a stone. Dark, sexual, scatalogical, violent, and mordantly funny, these fractured fables span city and country, animal and human, myth and politics. 


  1. Graffiti in the Toilet
  2. Don’t Piss Here
  3. Easing into a Long Sleep
  4. Caronang
  5. Rotten Stench
  6. No Crazies in this Town
  7. Auntie
  8. Pigpen
  9. The Otter Amulet
  10. Dimples
  11. The Stone’s Story
  12. My Lipstick Is Red, Darling
  13. Peter Pan
  14. Making an Elephant Happy
  15. Night Watchmen
  16. Kitchen Curse

… how effortlessly Kurniawan weaves together aspects of a composite culture where Hindu, Buddhist and Christian names and stories jostle within a somewhat rough and ready Islamic framework.

Geeta Doctor, The Hindu

Erupting with awareness and dark wit, this work puts Kurniawan in league with Hassan Blasim, Witold Gombrowicz, and Daniil Kharms.

Publisher’s Weekly

Other Works in English Translation

  • Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, translated by Annie Tucker, New Directions (2017); Pushkin Press (2017); Text Publishing (2017); Speaking Tiger (2017).
  • Man Tiger, translated by Labodalih Sembiring, Verso Books (2015); Speaking Tiger (2016).
  • Beauty Is a Wound, translated by Annie Tucker, New Directions (2015); Text Publishing (2015); Pushkin Press (2016); Speaking Tiger (2016).