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While this is most certainly a graphic book and explores in at some times crude terms the facets of love and desire, there is so much going on that I will need to listen to it a second time to pick up everything the author is saying. One of my new favorites!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
If you enjoy allegorical tales; yearn to learn and think as you read without being overly challenged; delight in discovering (or trying to) the metaphorical meaning of actions, characters and things within a story; and/or relished "Animal Farm" and/or "One Hundred Years of Solitude,"
You should definitely read this novel which reflects and criticizes the turbulent history of the world's 4th most populous country Indonesia, a country of more than 14,000 islands and of terrible tsunamis. Indonesia's native citizens suffered under three and a half centuries of Dutch rule, Japanese occupation for 3 years during WWII, the mass slaughter of possibly a million citizens after the failed Communist coup in 1965, followed by the despotic rule of Suharto for 3 decades.
Kurniawan tells this tempestuous history by the epic story, by turns ridiculous, magical and hilarious but always captivating, of Dewi Ayu, the 3/4 Dutch and 1/4 Malaysian girl forced into prostitution in her late teens upon Japanese occupation, her four daughters (each with different fathers), their lovers and husbands, Dewi Ayu's 3 grandchildren, and the village of Halimundo, which is very reminiscent of the village of Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Kurniawan also weaves in colorful, intriguing local folklore to make his points.
While the novel contains some scenes of the grotesque and of rapes, they did not seem gratuitous and I can't say they weren't needed to reflect the tragedies that have befallen Indonesia and its residents.
I'll go out on a limb to say this fascinating, sordid and intellectually stimulating novel is destined to be deemed a classic written by the young Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan, for whom the comparisons to Gabriel Garcia Marquez are well-deserved.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful