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Man Tiger: A Novel

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016
A wry, affecting tale set in a small town on the Indonesian coast, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families and of Margio, a young man ordinary in all particulars except that he conceals within himself a supernatural female white tiger. The inequities and betrayals of family life coalesce around and torment this magical being. An explosive act of violence follows, and its mysterious cause is unraveled as events progress toward a heartbreaking revelation.

Lyrical and bawdy, experimental and political, this extraordinary novel announces the arrival of a powerful new voice on the global literary stage.

"Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today" Benedict Anderson


  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Can’t-Miss New Read”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • Man Tiger is a novel of mystery, suspense, and magical realism … Kurniawan has already been compared to writers like Gabriel García Márquez, so he’s for sure one to put on your list.”
  • “[It’s] telling that many have deemed Kurniawan the next Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an acclaimed pioneer of socialist realism.”
  • “Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite.”
  • “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.”
  • 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.”
  • “One of the few influential writers in Indonesia.”
  • “A slim, wry story…at once elegant and bawdy, experimental, and political.”
  • “A supernatural tale of murder and desire fascinatingly subverts the crime genre… Kurniawan’s writing demonstrates an affinity with literary heavyweights such as, yes, García Márquez and Dostoevsky.”
  • “What good fortune that English-speaking readers may now find ourselves enchanted, confronted, and perhaps transformed by Kurniawan’s work.”
  • “[Man Tiger's] explosive prose and provocative employment of fantastical elements will startle any reader.”
  • “[Man Tiger is] signature Kurniawan in its serious playfulness. It alternates flash and inner quiet. We feel everything from the tenderness of family meals to the roughness of a torn jugular.”
  • “Intense, thrilling and violent … Ferocious tale of a Javanese anti-hero.”


  • Five Book Plan: Literature in Translation by Deborah Smith

    For our latest Five Book Plan, Deborah Smith, award-winning translator and founder and publisher of Tilted Axis Press, shares her top 5 books of literature in translation as part of Verso's Summer Reads 2016 recommendations.

     translations from the Korean include two novels by Han Kang, The Vegetarian (winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize) and Human Acts (Portobelllo, 2016), and two by Bae Suah, A Greater Music (forthcoming in October 2016 from Open Letter Press) and Recitation (Deep Vellum, 2017). In 2015 Deborah completed a PhD at SOAS on contemporary Korean literature and founded Tilted Axis Pressa not-for-profit press focusing on contemporary fiction from Asia that debuted with Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay's Panty this month. In 2016 she won the Arts Foundation Award for Literary Translation. She tweets as @londonkoreanist.

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  • Verso Summer Reading 2016!

    Whether you’re spending this summer under a beach umbrella or a rain umbrella, contemplating a future free from work, or wondering where it all went wrong, we have lots of books for you to get stuck into!

    In our 2016 Summer Reads we bring you a mix of translated fiction, new (and famous) names, revolutionary spirit, riots, and lots more: all 50% off until June 30th (with free shipping worldwide, & bundled ebooks where available). The discounts should already be visible, but please click here if not.

    You can also WIN ALL our Summer Reads in our epic book giveaway! See full details at the bottom.

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  • “Eka Kurniawan may be South-East Asia’s most ambitious writer in a generation”— The Economist

    “Without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today”—Benedict Anderson

    In this New Left Review piece in 2013 Benedict Anderson questioned why “over the 110 years of announcements of winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, there has never been an awardee from any country in Southeast Asia—while every other region has had its turn?”

    It was through Anderson that we were introduced to Eka Kurniawan, “Indonesia’s most original living writer of novels and short stories, and its most unexpected meteorite.” His overview—posted in its entirety here—attests to the epochal nature of Kurniawan's work, figuring him as Indonesia's answer to “Sophocles, Virgil, Lady Murasaki, Cervantes, Melville, Lu Hsün, Shakespeare, Proust, Gogol, Ibsen, Márquez, or Joyce.” 

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