Man Tiger : A Novel, Paperback

Man Tiger : A Novel Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


"After half a century," writes renowned Indonesia scholar Benedict Anderson, "Pramoedya Ananta Toer has found a successor." Eka Kurniawan has been described as the "brightest meteorite" in Indonesia's new literary firmament, the author of two remarkable novels whose sheer beauty, elegance, cosmopolitanism, and ambition have brought comparisons not only to Pramoedya, universally considered Indonesia's modern literary genius, but also to Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mark Twain.

A new generation of young literary figures in Indonesia, emerging after decades of repressive dictatorship ended in 1998, is renewing the culture of the world's largest Muslim nation (and its language, which was only nationally instituted in 1945).

Kurniawan's Beauty Is a Wound and Man Tiger are the capstones of this movement.

A slim, wry story set in an unnamed town near the Indian Ocean, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families, and of Margio, an ordinary half-city, half-rural youngster who also happens to be half-man, half-supernatural female white tiger (in many parts of Indonesia, magical tigers protect good villages and families). At once elegant and bawdy, experimental and political, Man Tiger will help to establish Indonesia's new voice, underrepresented in world literature, while demonstrating the influence of world literature on Indonesian writers.




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Of the 68 reviews on Goodreads of Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan, only a handful are written in English by reviewers who do not also speak Indonesian. This is a shame because Man Tiger, and Kurniawan, deserve a wider audience. Verso Books is known primarily as the publisher of nonfiction works in such areas as cultural, literary, social, and political theory, and it has now expanded its expertise in translation to the world of fiction. Given its leftist slant, it is not surprising that Verso's newest fiction author comes from a part of the world which is all but forgotten by a majority of English-speaking readers, and it is to be applauded for publishing this fascinating peek at Indonesian village and family life.My concern is that Verso's radical left reputation may dissuade more politically and socially conservative readers from picking up Man Tiger. Kurniawan will hook them once they open the cover (which is itself quite eye-catching with four deep claw marks in its red-orange background), but first we have to get the book into their hands. I will be championing this book among my friends, and I hope readers of this review will join me.I received a free copy of Man Tiger through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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