Indonesia got a little out of control. There were thirteen books on my list, so I started to do a little research to see if I could knock a few of them off, and ended up adding eight more. I did manage to take three off the list: Indonesia, etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation by Elizabeth Pisani (even though a friend recommended it, because it’s non-fiction and the author is not Indonesian); Pain and Suffering by Merari Siregar because it doesn’t seem to have been translated into English; and Oceanic Mythology by Roland B. Dixon because I read the first two sections (on Australia and Polynesia) and hated it. I started working my way through the list of 19. Along the way I dropped The Outcast and Kei, because I was ready to move on from Indonesia (and because I started reading Beauty is a Wound-—out of order, as I’d already read everything but the two aforementioned works—and it was so much better than the last six books I’d read that I thought I should probably quit while I was ahead). There is no way I’m going to finish this reading list before I die, but hopefully if there’s an afterlife there will be books there, I guess.

Indonesia is an archipelago, and there are many distinct cultures between and even within islands. I’ve included the settings of each work in parentheses.

  1. The Ten Thousand Things, Maria Dermoût, 1955 [Maluku]
  2. Beauty is a Wound, Eka Kurniawan, 2002 [Java]
  3. The Black Lake, Hella Haasse, 1948 [Java]
  4. The Rainbow Troops, Andrea Hirata, 2005 [Belitung (Sumatra)]
  5. This Earth of Mankind, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 1975 [Java]
  6. The Birth of I La Galigo, Mohamad Salim, John H. McGlynn, Sapardi Djoko Damono, 2005 [Sulawesi]
  7. Blossoms of Longing: Ancient Verses of Love and Lament from the Old Javanese, trans. Thomas M. Hunter, 1998 (texts from 12th-14th c.) [Java]
  8. Saman, Ayu Utami, 1998 [Sumatra]
  9. Jazz, Perfume, and the Incident, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, 1996 [Timor/Java]
  10. Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company, Multatuli, 1820 [Java]
  11. Earth Dance, Oka Rusmini, 2003 [Bali]
  12. Daughters of Papua, Anindita S. Thayf, 2009 [Papua]
  13. Sitti Nurbaya: A Love Unrealized, Marah Rusli [Sumatra/Java]
  14. Desawarnana, Mpu Prapanca, 1365 [Java]
  15. The Weaverbirds, Y.B. Mangunwijaya, 1981 [Java]
  16. Potions and Paper Cranes, Lan Fang, 2013 [Java]
  17. The Original Dream, Nukila Amal, 2003 [Maluku/Java]

Not read:

  • Oceanic Mythology (Indonesia Section), Roland B. Dixon, 1916
  • Pain and Suffering (Azab dan Sengsara), Merari Siregar, 1920
  • The Outcast, Okky Madasari, 2012
  • Home, Leila Chudori, 2012
  • Kei, Erni Aladjai, 2013
  • Indonesia, etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation, Elizabeth Pisani, 2014