Beauty Is a Wound
Fiction by Eka Kurniawan
Translated by Annie Tucker
Translated by Annie Tucker
Brash, worldly and wickedly funny, Eka Kurniawan may be South-East Asia’s most ambitious writer in a generation.
—Clarissa Oon, ArtReview Asia
Eka’s approach in Beauty… mixes seriousness with irreverence, juxtaposing historical fact and magical realism in a manner reminiscent of Salman Rushdie.
—Sam Twyford-Moore, The Australian
Beauty is a Wound is an epic of a kind that could only come from the pen of an Indonesian, with vivid imagination and cruel humor.
Beauty is a Wound is a sprawling work—seen through the eyes of Halimunda’s gangsters, rebels, prostitutes and gravediggers—that obliquely covers the history of Indonesia from the late colonial period onwards.
—Chigozie Obioma, The Millions
The howling masterpiece of 2015…a sheer burst of particular talent.
—The Boston Globe
Sprawling, loquacious tale.
—John Domini, The Chicago Tribune
A fairy tale can lose its charm, curdling for lack of much to care about, but in Beauty, the strangeness comes alive with need.
Kurniawan’s momentous, darkly humorous chronicle—moving from the last days of Dutch rule to the mass killings of the 1960s—brilliantly captures Indonesia’s spirit.
—Hilary Plum, Bookforum
American literature has been missing Kurniawan, without even being aware, until now, of our loss—a situation that Annie Tucker’s dauntless translation, in particular, has helped to remedy.
—Tim Hannigan, Caixin online
Kurniawan is a tremendously exciting and promising writer.
—Phillip Pantuso, Brooklyn Magazine
It’s an astonishing, polyphonic epic, a melange of satire, grotesquerie, and allegory that incorporates everything from world history to local folk talks.
—Gillian Terzis, The New Yorker
An arresting portrait of Indonesia’s struggle for nationhood, delights in obscenity: no topic is spared from its bloodthirsty brand of satire.
—Natalie Beach, O Magazine
This Indonesian folkloric epic is lush and picaresque, marking the English-language debut of a master novelist not to be missed.
—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times
Gracefully translated by Annie Tucker, the writing is evocative and muscular, with particularly spicy descriptions and some good wry humor.
A lush, raucous, and fabulous saga.
A vivid, bawdy, and arresting epic painted with bold strokes on a vast canvas. Highly recommended.
—Agus Noor, Jakarta Post
One of the few influential writers in the country.
—Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic
Man Tiger and Beauty Is a Wound constitute a retort from the present to the dark times, while also acknowledging that the dark times may not yet be over. Against the killings of those years and the collective amnesia used to blank out the fate of the victims — a kind of second death, as it were — Kurniawan’s fiction summons its legions of ghosts.
One of the most exciting fiction writers in Indonesia.
—Jon Fasman, The New York Times
Kurniawan does not merely traffic skillfully in magic realism; his Halimunda — like García Márquez’s Macondo and Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County — lets him show how the currents of history catch, whirl, carry away and sometimes drown people.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An unforgettable, all-encompassing epic of Indonesian history, magic, and murder. Indeed, the combination of magic, lore, and pivotal events reverberating through generations will prompt readers to draw parallels between Kurniawan’s Halimunda and García Márquez’s Macondo. But Kurniawan’s characters are all destined for despair and sorrow, and the result is a darker and more challenging read than One Hundred Years of Solitude. An astounding, momentous book.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Kurniawan sets the stage for an epic picaresque that’s equal parts Canterbury Tales and Mahabharata. Weaving back in forth in time, moving from character to character, the author tells the story of Indonesia from its Dutch colonial days, through the Japanese occupation during World War II, and into independence as a modern state. Huge ambition, abundantly realized.
A vivacious translation of a comic but emotionally powerful Indonesian novel.
—Benedict Anderson, New Left Review
Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite. Pramoedya Ananta Toer has found a successor.