Beauty Is A Wound

Beauty Is A Wound

Book - 2015
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"The English-language debut of Indonesia's greatest young novelist, Eka Kurniawan: "without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite" (Benedict Anderson). One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. So begins Beauty Is a Wound, an epic, sweeping, compulsively readable novel, combining history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. It is also a highly political book. Revolving around the beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters, various plotlines incorporate 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," and the three decades of Suharto's despotic rule that followed. The bravura resilience on display here makes Beauty Is a Wound a luscious yet astringent product of the art blossoming since the fall of Suharto. Kurniawan's distinctive West Javanese voice will be entirely new to American readers, and its local sources (the all night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope; the famous local folk tales) will astonish, but Kurniawan draws as well on his favorite world writers, Melville, Gogol, Hamsun, and Marquez"--
Publisher: New York :, New Directions,, 2015.
ISBN: 9780811223638
0811223639
Branch Call Number: FICTION Kurniawa Eka 09/2015
Characteristics: 470 pages ;,20 cm
Alternative Title: Cantik itu luka

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SiempreSara
Feb 27, 2016

It took a while to get used to the style. Earthy magical realism - a lot of rape and incest dealt related casually and almost humorously. I watched the documentary The Look of Silence, about mass killings of alleged Communists in Indonesia in the 70s, at the same time as I was reading this and I detected some similarities in the kind of black comedy. It made more sense as I thought of the stories as closer to folktales than any kind of realism (which should have been obvious from the beginning). This would be good for people who like learning about other cultures by entering into a different style of storytelling.

j
jr3083
Jan 28, 2016

Absolutely brilliant! Shades of 'Hundred Years of Solitude' overlaid with Indonesian history.

multcolib_darceem Nov 03, 2015

The brutal history of Indonesia is played out through the story of a revered prostitute risen from the dead and her four daughters. This is a wonderful, bawdy, violent but magical read filled with fantastic characters & mythology. I Loved it!

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