First published in The Star on 26th March, 2016
BEAUTY IS A WOUND
AUTHOR: Eka Kurniawan
TRANSLATOR: Annie Tucker
PUBLISHER: New Directions Books, 470 pages
ONE afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years.’ So begins Beauty is a Wound, by Indonesian Eka Kurniawan, translated by Annie Tucker.
It’s a enthralling read – richly and densely imagined and described, epic in proportions, often bewildering in the twists and turns of its plot, and breath-takingly bizarre in its strangeness, its grotesque humour, its scenes of dazzling tenderness and loveliness laid bare alongside those of obscene and extreme cruelty, pain, sorrow and devastation.