Eka Kurniawan’s freewheeling imagination explores the turbulent dreams of an ex-prostitute, the hapless life of a perpetual student, victims of an anticommunist genocide, the travails of an elephant, even the vengeful fantasies of a stone. Dark, sexual, scatological, violent, and mordantly funny, these fractured fables span city and country, animal and human, myth and politics.
Like nothing else, Kurniawan’s stories bury themselves in the mind. His characters and insights are at once hauntingly familiar, peculiar, and twisted.
“These stories show how we are laid bare to the chaos, mysteries and powers of all kinds of other beings, and how we have always continued to resist, and to simply live.”
“Brash, worldly and wickedly funny, Eka Kurniawan may be South-East Asia’s most ambitious writer in a generation … Eka is shaping up to be [Indonesia’s] Murakami: approaching social concerns at an angle rather than head-on, with hefty doses of surrealism and wry humour.”
“These short, spiky tales are a joy to read.”
“It’s easy to see why he is being compared to Gabriel García Márquez and hailed as one of the leading lights of contemporary Indonesian fiction.”
“Kurniawan’s writing demonstrates an affinity with literary heavyweights such as, yes, García Márquez and Dostoevsky, as well as Indonesia’s own social-realist master Pramoedya Ananta Toer, to whom domestic fans have dubbed him an heir.”
“Many have deemed Kurniawan the next Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an acclaimed pioneer of socialist realism.”
“These stories are blasphemous, perverse, and shocking! But so are you, if you’re a human being. With exceptional fervor, wit, and bite, Kurniawan faces the truth. Can you?”
“Scintillating and often darkly humorous, Kitchen Curse by Eka Kurniawan is masterful take on the vicissitudes of life for contemporary Indonesians.”
“Sex, violence, and betrayal loom large throughout, as in Kurniawan’s award-winning previous novels.”
“Erupting with awareness and dark wit, this work puts Kurniawan in league with Hassan Blasim, Witold Gombrowicz, and Daniil Kharms.”
“The Indonesian writer’s short story collection tells tales of hope and disappointment from Reformasi, the period following the ouster of the country’s dictator Suharto. In Kitchen Curse, the act of storytelling becomes a way of reimagining the means through which the political finds expression.”
“These stories are sites of bold experimentation … They provide ways of looking at Indonesia’s politics, history, and culture through the lens of the everyday and the marginal: the world of the outcasts.”