It’s publication day for our ninth book, the “ambitious saga” HOME from one of the most profound, remarkable writers in Indonesia, Leila Chudori!!
It’s a remarkable book, praised by Publishers Weekly as “an ambitious saga that intertwines narration from various generations and creates a wide-ranging picture of Indonesia.” You gotta read this book: it is beautiful, moving, tragic, life-affirming, with passionate love stories, political exile, and the communion of food and family all combining into a truly unique historical epic novel. My favorite part of the Publishers Weekly review describes the themes that would be important to book clubs and reading groups (who would all love this novel, like Brazos Bookstore’s book club in Houston, which has selected this novel as their December/January read!):
The novel stays grounded with nostalgic themes of food and love, anchoring the reader with mouthwatering detail and the intrigue of Romeo and Juliet–esque affairs. The book flows with detailed reportage and exposes the ongoing human degradation that resulted from the conflict between the Indonesian Communist Party and the conservative Gestapu. Chudori also proves a more universal truth: “Everyone has his own version of history.”
An epic of family history, a history of Indonesia, told through tales of propaganda shown to school children through a gory diorama or forced viewing of film, each chapter has another layer to add to the complex construction of the whole.
One personal highlight was the food references, our exiles in Paris set up an Indonesian restaurant and the detailed descriptions of sambal dishes, the flavours, spices and blends always brought on hunger – maybe an Amazon review there “This book made me hungry”!!!
Whilst exploring so many stands with exiles in Paris, oppressed associates in Jakarta, returning peoples feeling a connection to the land, or the harsh reality of race riots and civil unrest, the composition as a whole unfolds as a family epic, with love stories, hope, desire to be buried on home soil and a simple love for I-N-D-O-N-E-S-I-A always bubbling along.
A highly entertaining epic, with a plethora of historical stories to tell, another welcome addition to my recent discovery of Indonesian writing, maybe a little more in the South Asia patch is required.
Or Tony’s Reading List review of the novel!!
It’s never less than fascinating…an absorbing tale pulling the reader deeper into the world of Dimas, family and friends. The novel is also well-structured, with the mix of styles and narrators (some first-person, others third-person) helping disguise the fact that it’s essentially a story of two parts. The first half mainly takes place in Paris, setting us up for the trip to Jakarata; by the middle of the book, we believe (as Lintang does) that we’re ready to return to Jakarta. The truth is that we’re not…
Home would be a wonderful introduction to Indonesian literature for readers with an interest in political, historical novels. It is long, but it’s also very accessible, and the background information it contains on the political events which rocked Indonesia in the twentieth century provide valuable background information for better understanding of other books (such as Beauty is a Wound) from the country.
And we here at Deep Vellum want you all to read this book so much that we have putHOME on sale for the week, grab a copy of HOME from our Paypal or Squarewebstores and we’ll throw in a complimentary copy of the ebook for you as well!!