The New York Times - Notable Books of 2015

more

Beauty Is a Wound (2015)

Written by Eka Kurniawan and Annie Tucker (Translator)

The original edition of Beauty Is a Wound was published in 2002 in Indonesian languange titled Cantik itu Luka. This is the English translated version  

The epic novel Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. The beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan's gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation's troubled past: the rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million "Communists," followed by three decades of Suharto's despotic rule.

Beauty Is a Wound astonishes from its opening line: One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. . . . Drawing on local sources—folk tales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope—and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Kurniawan's distinctive voice brings something luscious yet astringent to contemporary literature. (Copyright © New Directions. All rights reserved.)

Source:  New Directions Publishing.

Close

Select Version you want to order