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5 Indonesian authors you need to add to your reading list

The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata and 5 Indonesian authors you need to add to your reading list

Despite World Book Day being in March, it seems September, too, is all about books!

Not only is it Read a New Book Month and Library Card Sign-up Month, but a number of reading-related days happen to fall in September: 6th September is Read a Book Day, 7th September is Buy a Book Day, 8th September is Literacy Day, 13th September is Roald Dahl Day, 18th September is Read an E-book Day and 25th September is Comic Book Day.

Now would be a great time to add some famous Indonesian literature from some of the best-selling Indonesian authors to your repertoire.   And don’t worry – you don’t need to be fluent in Bahasa, they are all available as translated Indonesian novels in English.

 

As the global media has already covered topics such as “the best Indonesian books” and “the best
Indonesian writers and their works”, we’ve trawled through some great articles to suggest just
five of the most popular recommendations.


1. Jakarta Post: 12 Indonesian Books You Should Add to Your Reading List.

man tiger

Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan 


“The book follows Margio, a youngster from a rural area in Indonesia, who decides to
kill a man. This leaves the whole village confused, as Margio doesn’t seem like a person
who could actually harm anyone. The worst crime he has ever committed is stealing a
chicken, which was regarded as something that ‘happened out of spite’. But Margio
really did kill the man, moreover in a brutal way. When asked why he did it, he
answered, ‘It wasn’t me. There’s a tiger in me.’” Jakarta Post



2. The Literary Edit: Thirteen Must-Read Indonesian Authors.

IMG_9457 Book - Island Themed BLog

The Rainbow Troops, by Andrea Hirata


"This best-selling 2005 debut novel by Andrea Hirata sold more than five million copies in
Indonesia, and was the country’s best-selling novel of all time. It was adapted for musical
theatre, a feature film and a television series, and is described as “an affecting, poignant
and powerful read”.  No doubt Hirata has contributed significantly to the development of
modern Indonesian literature. " The Literary Edit



3. The Culture Trip: Indonesia’s 10 Most Famous Authors.

the-buru-quartet-penguin-books

Buru Quartet, by Pramoedya Ananta Toer


“Living during what was probably the most turbulent time in Indonesia, life gave Pramoedya Ananta Toer a lot of stories that he gave back to the world with excellent poise and brilliance. His works have been translated into 37 languages, including the semi-autobiographical Stories from Blora (1952) and the famed Buru Quartet. As an intellectual thinker as well as author, Pramoedya has been imprisoned by both the colony and Indonesia’s post-independence government for his progressive notions. Although many of his books have been burned or banned, Pramoedya’s surviving works still give
us an elaborate and captivating look into Indonesia’s past episodes from a very personal
perspective.” The Culture Trip


4. The Guardian: ‘17,000 Islands of Imagination’: discovering Indonesian literature.

Home leila chudori

Home, by Leila S Chudori


"Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer appears as a character in this highly successful contemporary Indonesian novel. It’s the story of a young woman raised in Paris who visits Jakarta, her father’s home, to make a documentary film as a project for her studies at the Sorbonne. Lintang Utara is the daughter of an Indonesian exile and the Frenchwoman he fell in love with." The Guardian


5. Indoneisaful: Book Review

saman ayu utami

Saman, by Aya Utami


“A schoolgirl falls in love with her teacher; a priest defends a rural village and loses faith in God; a woman plans an affair with a married man. Such are the plot lines in Ayu Utami’s Saman, a 1998 romance novel that became a cultural sensation in Indonesia following its publication. At first glance, Saman is a simple love story, keeping with many conventions of that genre.

However, as it deals with the thorny issues of religion, sexuality, and government oppression, Saman demands a second look.”  Indonesiaful

 


We do hope this has given you a taste for Indonesian fiction. Be sure to check out the Good Reads guide for more books from Indonesia.

Or for more reading inspiration check out our blog on island-themed holiday reads...

wallace-library-books

 

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