Indonesian author Seno Gumira Ajidarma once wrote, “While journalism speaks with facts, literature speaks with the truth.” The truths found in the fourteen stories in this collection derive from the lives of women in contemporary Indonesia and the ways they manage to carve new spaces for themselves in difficult circumstances. While their victories are not always grand, these women roar as they proclaim their tales.
If Fortune Does Not Favor offers a unique perspective on the complex situation of Indonesian women during the pre- independence period of Indonesian history. First published in 1933, this novel is considered the first Indonesian novel written by a woman. Selasih, the author, was a fighter working to liberate the homeland during the era when this novel was written. Both to Selasih and within If Fortune Does Not Favor, liberation constituted freedom from everything that shackled happiness.
Dinar Rahayu invites the reader into alien, experiential settings that explore issues of gender, sexuality and the downfalls of obsession. These stories explore the possibilities of gender role-reversals, for example in a society where men become pregnant and also intertwines the well-known allegory of the Siren, contextualizing it into outer-space to critique a researcher’s narcissism and obsession of reputation.
In the Small Hours of the Night, a collection of 24 Sundanese short stories, is the first collection of its kind ever to be translated into English. The stories deal with a variety of subjects, ranging from everyday-politics where corruption is rife to stories of village life and the trials faced by villagers forced to confront the waves of modernization. There are also stories which deal with the significant historical events of the last seventy years and finally—as one might expect, since the Sundanese are known for the frankness with which they describe sexual attraction—there are also stories of love.
Authors whose work may be found in this collection include Aan Merdéka Permana, Absurditas Malka, Dadan Wahyudin, Déni A. Fajar, Déni A. Héndarsyah, Érwin Wahyudi, Fitria Puji Lestari, Héna Sumarni, Lugiena Dé, Mamat Sasmita, Mulyana Surya Atmaja, Nina Rahayu Nadéa, Usép Romli H.M., and Yus R. Ismail.
Indonesia is a seductive place. Its people are among the most hospitable on the planet; it is rich beyond telling in languages, cultures and landscapes and it heaves with gold, nickel, spices, fish stocks. Indonesia is also a well-spring of patronage, corruption and bureaucratic incompetence; its schools are a shambles, its legal system a disgrace. Elizabeth Pisani—journalist turned scientist turned analyst-of-all-trades—describes Indonesia as a giant Bad Boyfriend, charming and maddening in equal parts. She has been in thrall to the country since first working in Indonesia over two decades ago, and keeps coming back for more.
In 1945, Indonesian nationalists Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta proclaimed: “We, the people of Indonesia, hereby declare the independence of Indonesia. Matters relating to the transfer of power etc. will be executed carefully and as soon as possible.” Nearly seven decades later, Pisani set out to rediscover Indonesia in the age of its latest “Etc”: decentralisation. She spent over a year travelling 21,000 kilometres by motorbike, bus and boat, and covering another 20,000 kilometres by plane. She stayed with fishermen and farmers, bus drivers and nurses, teachers and nomads. Out of a palette that includes a sound knowledge of history, years of close observation and a healthy sense of the absurd, she paints a clear-eyed but ultimately affectionate portrait of the nation.
Indonesia Etc. is also available as an E-Book and in enhanced E-book format. The enhanced version contains numerous photographs, and multiple slideshows and video recordings of priests chanting by moonlight, letters to Elizabeth from Generals and rebels and lots of other fun stuff. (Note: It will work best on an iPad.)
E-Book is available here
Instructions for Killing the Past is a very playfully funny and absurd collection of short-stories that mostly seem to center around an ambiguous ‘Ivan’ figure. These stories entail an openness about serial masturbation following profound hallucinatory story-telling about nature, a dark, macabre love between a man and a bird and confessional self-help instructions that was probably intended for the author all along.
The Javanese Gentry depicts the implicit concerns of many characters who can only dream of achieving the status of a gentry. When Sastrodarsono returns to his village as a school teacher, by virtue of the job, he becomes a gentry. The book follows Sastrodarsono’s family across different periods of Indonesian history: the late colonial period, the Japanese occupation, the war for independence, and two decades of social disorder that ends in the mid 1960s with the rise of Suharto’s New Order government. Author of a large number of books brimming with different styles and genres, Umar Kayam gained a highly-deserved reputation as the voice of the common man. His books include short story anthologies, essays, novels, and children’s stories. His short story, A Thousand Fireflies, won the Horison Literary Prize in 1967 and he was named the recipient of the 1987 S.E.A. Write Award.
On November 12, 1991, the Indonesian military opened fire on protestors in Dili, East Timor. Hundreds were killed and accounts of this massacre sparked international outrage. In Jakarta, a cover-up began immediately and the Indonesian mass media was cautioned to tow the official line. Seno Gumira Ajidarma refused to do so and transformed documentary evidence into semi-fictional form and published it as novel. This novel is a triptych, the first two of which—“Jazz” and “Perfume”—should be easily recognizable to most readers but “the Incident” is a collage of documents on an event in Indonesian history euphemistically referred to by the same name.
In August 1883 massive volcanic eruptions destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatau, in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java. It was the day the world exploded. A tsunami wreaked havoc in the region, causing countless deaths, and shock waves were recorded around the world. Ash from the eruption affected global weather patterns for years.
Since that time Krakatau has been the subject of more than 1,000 reports and publications, both scholarly and literary but the only surviving account of the event written by an indigenous eyewitness—Syair Lampung Karam (The Tale of Lampung Submerged), by Muhammad Saleh—has only now, after 130 years, found its way into English translation.
Thus begins Muhammad Saleh’s account. Written in the form of a syair, a classical Malay rhymed poem, Krakatu: The Tale of Lampung Submerged, sheds light on local responses to the widespread devastation in the region and enriches our knowledge of the Krakatau disaster.
Lies, Loss, and Longing portrays the lives of those who survive violence. Sukanta delves deeply into sufferings, using his keen eye for the mundane to expose extraordinary contradictions. Many of the characters in this short story collection are faced with sad endings; nonetheless, there is strength in his characters that gives them, and us, insights into the predicaments and the changes that must happen in Indonesia. Sukanta’s work transcends location and the longing he evokes in his stories are shared by all of us.
Acep Zamzam Noor’s poems wrap silence around images of death and failure. Beauty and, of course, life itself is transitory. They are things that quickly pass, reminds Noor. The reader, when trying to uncover the meaning of the poet’s surreal scenes, learns much about the meaning of his own existence.
Buku ini berisi terjemahan bahasa Indonesia transkrip lakon Makutharama yang dipentaskan dalam tiga gaya: pakeliran klasik (garap tradisi Radya Pustaka), pakeliran ngarap semalam, dan pakeliran padat. Makutharama adalah ajaran luhur mengenai kepemimpinan warisan Prabu Rama. Saat itu dunia dilanda beragam bencana yang menyebabkan penderitaan rakyat, dan diperburuk oleh pemerintahan korup. Arjuna yang merasa prihatin atas keadaan ini pun berjuang mendapatkan pepakem Makutharama tersebut agar situasi dunia menjadi lebih baik.
The world has been struck by multiple natural disasters (earthquakes, land slides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis), causing great suffering for the common people. Various corrupt officials are taking advantage of the situation, and things are getting worse. Arjuna, the princely hero from the Pandhawa family, has vowed to do something to help. His advisor Semar tells him of a gift of inspired leadership the gods are planning to hand down to a worthy mortal—the legendary King Rama’s philosophy of leadership from generations past. As the antagonist family of Kurawa brothers also struggles for possession of the god’s boon the story unfolds, including numerous secondary plots about characters from the Ramayana (Wibisana, Kumbakarna, Dasamuka) who have yet to have peace in eternity, and are still working out their destiny. Finally, Arjuna meets with an ascetic up in the mountains, and receives the philosophy of inspired leadership which will lead to a more peaceful future.
Another books in this package:
Reading Manna’s collection of poetry is a very orally and aurally therapeutic process. His free-verse and continuously repetitive rhythm and movement intertwines familiar images of Indonesia, in particular of Manna’s home city Surabaya. Simultaneously, he treats language in a way that evokes very unusual and sensory moments for the reader.
Warih Wisatana’s poems often present an unusual scene, which invites the reader to question the reality of that scene. His poems are not meant to shock, however: their voices are gentle, not forceful. He delves into the cultural heritage of the archipelago without the intention of revitalizing local color or political identity.
Bali has long been one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. With its two million visitors a year, foreign-conceived notions about this island are numberless. But what do the Balinese think of their island and their culture? What do fellow Indonesians think of Bali? Menagerie 4 offers an insider’s view of the Island of the Gods that often contrasts starkly with the popular image manufactured by tourism agencies and travel magazines.