The English language debut of Indonesia's rising star. Compulsively listenable, Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humour, and romance in an astonishing epic title, in which the beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by every monstrosity.
Kurniawan's gleefully grotesque hyperbole is 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, followed by three decades of Suharto's despotic rule.
Drawing on local sources - folktales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit - and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Beauty Is a Wound is passionate and ironic, exuberant and confronting. Hailed as ;the next Pramoedya', Eka Kurniawan is an exciting new voice in contemporary literature.
"Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite." (New Left Review)
"A vivacious translation of a comic but emotionally powerful Indonesian novel." (Pen America)
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Too much rape for me
I liked the complexity of the story and originality but ultimately I had to give up on it a few hours from the end. There was just this relentlessness to the ill-judgement and cruelty of the characters so that I lost all interest.
There was also a huge amount of rape. It often feels like every woman in the story is at some time raped, killed or driven to suicide.
In general too much misery for me at this point but I don't want to condemn it as a bad story. Just to inform that the content is very difficult most of the time.
It was very good. He doesn't put on ridiculous high pitched voices for female characters the way a lot of male narrators do.
It inspired me to stop listening to beauty is a wound.