24 December 2007

Pramoedya Ananta Toer, It’s Not An All Night Fair, 1951

This book is very good place to start with Pramoedya, Indonesia’s most celebrated author who died in 2006 and who many feel should have been more internationally recognised in his lifetime, even with a Nobel Prize. The story is of a man who returns home to see his dying father in the post-war years after the Japanese military have withdrawn; it’s a very simple premise but one that holds far more than one might expect, as conversations relating to well-lived lives amid civil unrest and imprisonment all find their way into their final words together as his father’s life slowly slips away. It’s not a sad book, but it is one that preserves a snapshot of a particular time and place with a fine melancholy.   PY

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