The poetically-crafted stories found in this collection by Triyanto Triwikromo –the first by this writer in English translation, are leavened by sardonic wit, a touch of the absurd, and the bizarre in a world gone mad. A Conspiracy of God-Killers is not itself the title of any of the short stories in this collection but derives from a suggestion by Triyanto himself. And small wonder! The title embodies the dominant theme of these stories: that organized violence and persecution of the vulnerable amounts to a conspiracy against God.
Cok Sawitri’s stories shed light on the lives of modern Balinese people and the various challenges they face. Readers are invited to examine the Balinese psyche, mainly their essential need for balance between traditional customs and modern-day life. But external conflicts aren’t Sawitri’s only forte; she also looks into people’s hearts.
The poetry of Hanna Fransisca is heavily-laden with Chinese cultural metaphors. The pleasures of eating and cooking might be shadowed by violence and sacrifice, or even eroticism and sadism. We hear multiple voices in Fransisca’s poetry: those of both the minority Chinese and all the women who struggle against the confines of patriarchy.
Set in Jakarta during the Indonesian revolution, A Road With No End asks the question, “What must we do to free ourselves from fear?” The novel’s two principal characters, Isa and Hazil, are put to the test by the times. Isa is timid and submissive by temperament; Hazil, on the other hand, appears to harbor no doubts and does not know physical fear. But by the end of the novel, when the two are in the hands of Dutch Security, their personalities and how they react to incarceration produce markedly different responses.
History fascinates in the hands of M. Iksaka Banu. The stories in this collection feature well-crafted characters acting at key moments in Indonesia’s colonial past. Indonesia’s history has frequently been told through Western eyes. Now, M. Iksaka Banu reclaims the past and makes it come alive for today’s readers.
A Student Named Hijo has been recognized for depicting a new Indonesian youth culture that has adopted Western cultural and lingual facets. By contrasting traditional Javanese and Dutch cultural values, the author advocated a view that the two are incompatible. This includes love, described in the novel as something only those with a Dutch education would attempt to find. Rejected for publication by Balai Pustaka, the Dutch controlled publishing house, the work is now considered a classic.
What distinguished Mona Sylviana’s writing, is her willingness to look at the dark side of life and to confront societal issues head on. In Mona’s stories, the world is not a safe place for women. Yet her characters do not respond to situations as passive objects or victims; they challenge the accepted order.
Clara Ng’s stories seem calm on the surface but they are liberally sprinkled with black humor and often contain unexpected elements of surprise. Her protagonists are usually women but rarely do they hold the same occupation. Ng’s stories are boundless; they serve as role models for women employed in a range of fields.
John A McGlynn’s favorite motto was “never let the truth get in the way of a good lie.” But as revealed in his imaginative tales of travels to Mexico, Indonesia, and other exotic ports of call,
it is often in fantasy that the truth is found. Populated with characters Mark Twain would have appreciated, McGlynn’s stories are those of a modern-day everyman and are as recognizable to an American as they would be to an Indonesian about the common nature of men.
Set in Bali, this novel presents a fascinating picture of the collision between Western gay men and Balinese culture. When Joey Breaux, a choreographer from New York, wins a grant to study in Bali, he believes that the experience will rejuvenate his relationship with his boyfriend, Andrew. Instead, their lives are turned upside down as a result of cultural ignorance and arrogance.
The first ever novel by a Papuan author, this story of generosity, greed, and resilience follows the friendship of several underwater and amphibious creatures. In this ecological parable, John Waromi shows the effects of “harvesting the storm” and reaping the results of actions beyond our control. He sheds light on not only the ecology of the southern Papuan coast but also the lives of its people and their culture.
The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Short Stories: Short Fiction from the Twentieth Century, a two-volume collection, is the first definitive anthology in Indonesian of Indonesian short stories from the twentieth century. Volume 1 of this anthology presents 48 stories dating back to the days of rising nationalism in the rst part of the century to just before the downfall of Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno, and the rise of a militaristic government following the tragic events of 1965.
Volume 2 of Antologi Cerpen Indonesia presents 61 stories dating from the founding of the New Order government that followed a national bloodbath in 1965 to just after its end in 1998 and the dawn of the second millennia. Along with the rise of “newspaper- length short stories” and a dwindling focus on realism, this period was marked by numerous changes in style and form, especially in the last decade of the century when authors, concerned with the militaristic nature of the central government, began to adopt a much more direct approach.
In the end of the 19th century, the Dutch Indies grew a new style of performing arts with Malay language known as “Komedi Bangsawan” or the vaudeville. The appearance triggered by urbanization and the need of entertainment. Nevertheless, as shown by the nine plays in this first chapter, the author– mixed or locals – then exploits the opportunity to understand Malay language not just for entertainment but also to disseminate ideas, social concepts, and new philosophies. Slowly, this art performance can be said as the new people’s theatre.
The play in 1930s era is a room drama – a drama known better as literature rather than a play. Players in this period of time were not familiar with art performances. But as political way almost closed, they chose to disseminate socio-political ideas through literature or play. The Japanese arrivals in early 1940s changed that. Japan required all arts to be a propaganda tool, and sensory became stricter. But in the 12 plays in this second chapter, the players still insert reform ideas in plays written on colonial times as well as Japanese occupation period.
Until the tenth year after Independence, revolution was still a dominant theme in all Indonesian literature genres, including plays. A drastic change and somewhat forced into an independent nation caused a lot of issues due to unpreparedness and sudden anticipation, which was not well planned. The obscurity of post-independence and disorganized “independence” concept was the things that were revealed: cursed, regretted, and mocked in most of the play in this third chapter. The players produced characters tasked to talk about independence impact to the society at large.