How self-published novel Jalan Jalan took flight with an Asian publisher | Books | The GuardianAlthough fairly slim, on paper Man Tiger almost begs to be labelled a work of magical realism; a generational tale set in an unnamed town in the tropics teeming with lusts and dreams, violence and loss, spirits and folklore. As his grandfather had said, the tigress was white as a swan or a cloud or cotton wool. How unbelievably happy he was, for the tigress was more than anything he had ever wanted. Kurniawan lived through the brutal and repressive Suharto dictatorship which saw many books banned and many writers imprisoned or disappeared. Fertile ground indeed for the kind of socio-politcal satire of Salman Rushdie or Gabriel Garcia Marquez; and, after all, the English translation is published by Verso books, an imprint better known for works of leftist economics and Marxist theory than literature and fiction. All three influences make themselves known as Man Tiger unfolds.
How self-published novel Jalan Jalan took flight with an Asian publisher
Who am I? Where do I belong? And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.
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Have you read any books set in Indonesia? But all of that is about to change! It is the first in a quartet of novels called the Buru Quartet set at the end of Dutch colonial rule. A controversial novel, it was banned in A very different kind of book is perhaps the most widely read book set in Indonesia, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Wow. Something in Between hit me right in the heart, challenging what we understand of love, law, identity, ambition, and the American Dream.
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Books Set In Indonesia
I followed the series from the start, but Jalan Jalan was the first entry to really catch my attention. The tale follows a heartbroken young Brit through Indonesia, where he finds himself embroiled in a murky world at the bottom of the expat barrel after accepting a teaching job at a dodgy language school after a five-minute telephone interview. It has some memorable drug- and alcohol-fuelled set pieces, lots of very funny dialogue, and lashings of tropical atmosphere. But it also has a more complex, moving and rather magical core. The protagonist — whose name is not revealed until the final chapter — is haunted by memories of his dead girlfriend, and as the book progresses it becomes clear that there is more going on here than mere misadventure in a foreign land. I could see why Jalan Jalan might have failed to find a UK publisher.