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The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak

The Question of Red

by Laksmi Pamuntjak

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This is a complex fictional novel about an Indonesian woman Amba who in her youth was engaged to someone her parents approved but she fell in love with a young doctor while working for a remote hospital as a translator of English. Their affair was interrupted by the virulent reign of Suharto and Sukarno and the government’s crackdown in the 1960’s on communists and the wholesale exile of the Dutch who had been the colonial masters of the Islands. Her lover disappeared but left her with child. She then married another for convenience. Later in life she searches for her lover and discovers the love letters that he wrote while in prison. Her daughter becomes a successful artist. The plot is rich in Indonesian-Javanese literature, history and customs. Can one women love two men? Read and discover.

I was provided with an electronic copy in return for an honest review. ( )
  mcdenis | Jul 17, 2016 |
In 2006 a woman visiting a grave on the former prison island of Buru is attacked by the dead man's wife and half-killed. When she recovers she tells the story of the passionate affair she'd had with the man for a few weeks in 1965 although she was engaged to somebody else, how they'd been separated during an army raid on a subversive friend's wake, and how she'd loved him ever since, despite their never meeting again.

The historical background was fascinating and the emotional complexities of the characters and their relationships with each other and their families and others reminds me just how foreign Indonesia is even after 28 years. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 17, 2015 |
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