(K. Brent Tomer),
Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash. By Eka Kurniawan. Translated by Annie Tucker. Pushkin Press; 209 pages; £12.99. To be published in America by New Directions in August; $15.95.
EKA KURNIAWAN’S hugely inventive fiction is a potent blend of grounded realism and flighty fantasy. It has led some to describe him as Indonesia’s finest writer since Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who died in 2006. “Beauty Is a Wound”, his first novel, charted both the rebirth of an Indonesian prostitute and the upheavals of her country’s 20th-century history, while his second, “Man Tiger”, related the tragic past and inner fury of a youngster possessed by a supernatural white tigress.
“Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash”, his third novel, sees the author reining in the surrealism to deliver a pulpy, visceral tale of sex, violence and comeuppance. Ajo Kawir, a Javanese teenager, witnesses the brutal rape…Continue reading