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THE RIGHT READ

21

theSun ON WEDNESDAY

| APRIL 6, 2016

King of the

21 theSun ON WEDNESDAY | APRIL 6, 2016 King of the relative, an old lady who

relative, an old lady who lived alone. Almost every evening, he and the other children would gather at her porch, where she told them magical tales. His father, a tailor and a part-time English teacher, also played a role in instilling the love for stories in him. He would bring back books for Eka to read. From an ardent reader, Eka showly progressed to becoming a writer. One of the changes he loves to see taking place in Indonesian literature is an increase in Indonesian readership. “Indonesia has a big population, but only a tiny percentage of readers,” he says. “We need to build more libraries around the archipelago.” When asked if stories should have messages that can change the society for the better, Eka answers: “Consciously or unconsciously, a writer always has messages in the stories. But the writer must understand that readers may interpret these message differently [from the original intent]. “The readers may not see things the same way [as the writer]. The writer has no control over how his readers would interpret his stories.” But Eka strong believes a story should not become a sermon. “Once a story becomes a sermon, the story is no longer interesting.”

literary jungle

> Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan’s novel Man Tiger breaks new ground with a 2016 Man Booker nomination

news. But I didn’t get it. “While waiting for my car to be serviced, I realised my mobile phone was full of missed calls and messages. Many of them were from journalists. I spent the whole day answering their questions.” Eka (right) is extremely grateful that people thought his work was good enough to be nominated. Most of the time, he tries not think about the many accolades he has received for his books over the years. Man Tiger begins with a young man named Margio, who violently murders Anwar Sadat, the richest man in a village. The story continues in flashbacks, where the readers learn that Margio hates his father for abusing his mother. He always had the desire to kill his father, but never found the courage to carry it out. The novel also blends in supernatural elements, where

BY BISSME S.

E KA KURNIAWAN, considered one of the most exciting, edgy writers in Indonesia,

recently saw his book Man Tiger selected for the prestigious 2016 Man Booker International awards, with industry peers calling him the first Indonesian author to be nominated. The winner of the award will be announced on May 16. Man Tiger is a 2015 published translation of Eka’s original 2004 novel Lelaki Harimau, his second book after his landmark debut, 2002’s Cantik Itu Luka. He has since published Seperti Dendam, Rindu Harus Dibayar Tuntas (2014), and his latest book, O (2016). In an email interview with theSun, Eka (below) recalled how he found out about the nomination. He says: “Some of my friends texted me the good

He says: “Some of my friends texted me the good Margio believes a female white tiger

Margio believes a female white tiger is living inside him. The inspiration for this story came when Eka heard about a violent murder that took place in his hometown years ago. He wanted to write a fictional novel about the murder, but eventually abandoned the idea. “Then, a friend told me that he found a tiger in his bedroom,” he says. “I do not know whether my friend was telling me the truth or if he was pulling my leg. Oddly enough, his confession got us talking about the stories of mystical white tigers we used to hear about as kids.” It was then that Eka decided

to revive his abandoned story, and blended it with the super- natural element of a white tiger.

When asked if he still believes in supernatural elements, he says: “If I believe in the supernatural, I have to prove that it exists, and I cannot do that. “If I don’t believe in supernatural, I still have to prove it does not exist and I can’t do that, either. I am a skeptic but at the same time I love mystery in everything.” He says his grandmother was the first person to expose him to the art of storytelling. She loved to narrate legends, fairy tales and the history of the village to him. Another person who played an important role in his love for storytelling was a distant

2016 Man Booker Prize nominees

1. A General Theory of

Oblivion Author: José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola) Translator: Daniel Hahn

2. The Story of the Lost Child

Author: Elena Ferrante (Italy)

Translator: Ann Goldstein

3. The Vegetarian

Author: Han Kang (South Korea)

Translator: Deborah Smith

4. Mend the Living

Author: Maylis de Kerangal (France)

Translator: Jessica Moore

5. Man Tiger

Author: Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia)

Translator: Labodalih Sembiring

6. The Four Books

Author: Yan Lianke (China) &

Translator: Carlos Rojas

7. Tram 83

Author: Fiston Mwanza Mujila

(Democratic Republic of Congo/ Austria) Translator: Roland Glasser

8. A Cup of Rage

Author: Raduan Nassar (Brazil)

Translator: Stefan Tobler

9. Ladivine

Author: Marie N. Diaye

(France)

Translator: Jordan Stump

10. Death By Water

Author : Kenzaburo Oe (Japan)

Translator: Deborah Boliner Boem 11.White Hunger Author : Aki Ollikainen

(Finland) Translator: Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah

12. A Strangeness in My Mind

Author: Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

Translator: Ekin Oklap

13. A Whole Life

Author: Robert Seethaler

(Austria) Translator: Charlotte Collins

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Fiction

 

1. MEMORIES – Lang Leav

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8. AFTER YOU – Jojo Moyes

9. A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS

 

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10.

MAKE ME – Lee Child

IN A

IN A CAPSULE

CAPSULE

IN A CAPSULE

The Gun

Author: Fuminori Nakamura Publisher: Soho Crime ISBN: 9781616955908

THE winner of the Shinco Prize for debut fiction in 2002, this book was recently translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell. Author Nakamura previously had two other books translated – The Thief, Evil and the Mask, and Last Winter. The Gun (original title Yu) centres around a young man called Nishikawa who stumbles across a dead body and sees a gun by its side. If he was a good citizen, Nishikawa would have called the cops and there would be no novel. But Nishikawa is a complicated man, and instead of doing what is right, he makes

off with the gun and even tries to follow the investigation into the man’s death. Before long, Nishikawa starts fantasising about killing a female stranger, with the gun. A brief subplot of how he was raised in an orphanage and being advised to meet his dying biological father is not explored further. Things only take a turn midway in the book when he uses the gun to put a badly injured cat out of its misery. The book is compelling and the author sticks to the main plot without meandering all over the place. Nishikawa is a complex character who seems to have no control over his own life, and carrying a loaded gun wherever he goes makes him a ticking time bomb. A good first effort by this author who has since moved on to bigger things. – S. Indra Sathiabalan

since moved on to bigger things. – S. Indra Sathiabalan Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless Author: Tilly Bagshawe

Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless

Author: Tilly Bagshawe Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN: 9780062204056

LIFE is unfair and Group 99 is out to do something about it. Like modern day Robin Hoods, they are a bunch of angry young men who want wealth equality, and to punish the greedy. They are super smart, tech savvy and well-funded. They are highly organised. And they have global reach as the public flock to praise and support them until things turned violent. A British man they kidnapped is executed, and the footage shown worldwide. Now the powers that be are scrambling because Group 99 has another hostage, American journalist Hunter Drexel, and they are afraid that he will be next.

The CIA and FBI are forced to work together to rescue Drexel, but the maverick journalist shocks his American rescuers by running away.

So when a certain Tracy Schmaltz is implicated by Group 99, the CIA decides to get her on board. Tracy is a typical small town mum, who is devoted to her son but what her neighbours don’t know is that she was once a notorious jewel thief and con artist.

She doesn’t want to get involved

but one night, tragedy forces her

hand. With nothing left to lose, she focuses on getting to the bottom of things. Reckless is fast paced and action packed and it is often difficult to put the book down. There are twists and turns aplenty which serves to keep you turning the pages.

A captivating read. – KK

book down. There are twists and turns aplenty which serves to keep you turning the pages.

Wong