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.
Ali Akbar Navis (1924-2003), who first began to write in the early 1950s, is famed for his unflinching social criticism and piercing sense of satire.
Directed by Enison Sinaro
Duration: 22 minutes.
Achdiat K. Mihardja (b. 1911), by 1940, had already become an important figure amongst Indonesian writers. His novel, Atheist, is one of his most important work, and has earned him a highly-respected position amongst Indonesian literary circles.
Directed by Tinuk Yampolsky
Duration: 24 minutes.
The poet Agam Wispi (1930-2003) has lived in exile since the abortive Communist coup. In 1996, this former LEKRA writer returned to Indonesia for the first time since 1965.
Directed byMoh. Rivai Riza and John McGlynn
Duration: 25 minutes.
Ahmad Tohari (b. 1948), despite having grown up amidst a very strong Moslem background, has proven himself capable of creating the trilogy Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, set totally outside his Moslem upbringing.
Directed by Shanty Harmayn
Duration: 25 minutes.
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.
This combined vocal and dance performance tradition, originating from East Nusa Tenggara, includes three kinds of dances:
Created for leisure purposes when receiving guests from abroad.
The instrument used in this dance is made out of the Bongkok that consists of three kinds of rope, the hekna, gewang and, later, the senar, which is made of made out of dried goat intestines. The latter eventually replaced the hekna.
This dance is performed when a man proposes to a woman or during other customary celebrations in the Amarasi tribe. The guitar players, who also dance, are young men and women. This dance also tells historical stories of the Amarasi ancestors.
The dance was first inspired by the Koak bird that crows or squawks every morning, marking the beginning of a new day. The call of this bird means that farmers must get up to go to work in the field, and women must prepare breakfast for their husbands so that they will get to the field before the sun rises.
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.
The final days of World War II serve as the backdrop for this novel by Ismail Marahimin. Set in a small Sumatran village, And the War is Over is a tensely drawn story of the villagers, Japanese soldiers, Dutch prisoners, and Javanese workers who become, briefly but significantly, a part of each other’s lives. When a number of Dutch prisoners conceive an escape plan, tensions arise to a point where human relationships take center stage in this widely acclaimed novel.
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.