Author(s): Eka Kurniawan
"After half a century," writes renowned Indonesia scholar Benedict Anderson, "Pramoedya Ananta Toer has found a successor." Eka Kurniawan has been described as the "brightest meteorite" in Indonesia's new literary firmament, the author of two remarkable novels whose sheer beauty, elegance, cosmopolitanism, and ambition have brought comparisons not only to Pramoedya, universally considered Indonesia's modern literary genius, but also to Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mark Twain. A new generation of young literary figures in Indonesia, emerging after decades of repressive dictatorship ended in 1998, is renewing the culture of the world's largest Muslim nation (and its language, which was only nationally instituted in 1945). Kurniawan's Beauty Is a Wound and Man Tiger are the capstones of this movement. A slim, wry story set in an unnamed town near the Indian Ocean, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families, and of Margio, an ordinary half-city, half-rural youngster who also happens to be half-man, half-supernatural female white tiger (in many parts of Indonesia, magical tigers protect good villages and families).At once elegant and bawdy, experimental and political, Man Tiger will help to establish Indonesia's new voice, underrepresented in world literature, while demonstrating the influence of world literature on Indonesian writers.
"Against the killings of those years and the collective amnesia used to blank out the fate of [Indonesia's] victims-a kind of second death, as it were-Kurniawan's fiction summons its legions of ghosts. Against the strongmen who presided over violence and abuse, it raises the dead Dewi Ayu and brings to life a magic tigress hungry for justice." - Siddhartha Deb, New Republic "Tight, focused and thrilling. Like a good crime novel, Man Tiger works best when read in a single sitting, and its propulsive suspense is all the more remarkable because Kurniawan reveals both victim and murderer in the first sentence." - Jon Fasman, New York Times Book Review "Can't-Miss New Read" - Huffington Post 2015 Fall Books Preview "In terms of the literary novel, the year's most stirring revelation is Eka Kurniawan ... Imagine if Gogol adapted the films of Weerasethakul into novels." - Jonthan Sturgeon, Flavorwire "The world Kurniawan invents is familiar and unexpected, incorporating mystery, magical realism, and folklore ... Biting and beautiful ... This wild and enthralling novel manages to entertain while offering readers insight into the traditions of a little-known South East Asian culture. Kurniawan has officially put the West on notice." - Publishers Weekly "Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite." - Benedict Anderson, author of Imagined Communities "I can't think of another instance in which a writer debuted in English translation by being simultaneously published by two esteemed houses. Such is the case with Eka Kurniawan, an Indonesian novelist of remarkable prowess who seems destined to join the ranks of our great storytellers like Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez." - Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, Literary Hub "One of the few influential writers in Indonesia." - Jakarta Post "Man Tiger is a novel of mystery, suspense, and magical realism ... Kurniawan has already been compared to writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so he's for sure one to put on your list." Book Riot "[It's] telling that many have deemed Kurniawan the next Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an acclaimed pioneer of socialist realism." The New Yorker "Man Tiger may not seem like much of a murder mystery, given that the opening words reveal who killed whom, yet in retracing the steps that led to the crime, as "cut and dried" as it seems, and in exploring the motive behind it -- revealed only at the book's conclusion -- Kurniawan keeps the reader in mystery-like suspense." The Complete Review "A slim, wry story...at once elegant and bawdy, experimental, and political." Allison Noelle Conner, LARB's "The Offing" "A supernatural tale of murder and desire fascinatingly subverts the crime genre... Kurniawan's writing demonstrates an affinity with literary heavyweights such as, yes, Garcia Marquez and Dostoevsky." Deborah Smith, Guardian "What good fortune that English-speaking readers may now find ourselves enchanted, confronted, and perhaps transformed by Kurniawan's work." Hilary Plum, Bookforum "[Man Tiger's] explosive prose and provocative employment of fantastical elements will startle any reader." Claire Fallon, Huffington Post "Intense, thrilling and violent ... Ferocious tale of a Javanese anti-hero." Morning Star "A supernatural tale of murder and desire fascinatingly subverts the crime genre... Kurniawan's writing demonstrates an affinity with literary heavyweights such as, yes, Garcia Marquez and Dostoevsky." Deborah Smith, Guardian
Eka Kurniawan is the author of two novels, two collections of short stories, and a critical appreciation of Pramoedya Ananta Toer. He has also written movie scripts and a graphic novel. He studied philosophy at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, and lives in Jakarta.