BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Like a hamster sprinting on its wheel, going precisely nowhere, thirty-four-year-old freelance copy editor Fuyuko Irie does not question the mundanity of her daily routine. Japanese author Mieko Kawakami’s latest release, All the Lovers in the Night (2022), follows a character with no real friends, no boyfriend,…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: ALL THE LOVERS IN THE NIGHT (2022) BY MIEKO KAWAKAMI – THE CONDITION OF THE MODERN WOMAN
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Hornclaw is a sixty-five-year-old woman who refers to herself as a “disease control specialist.” The so-called ‘vermin’ she spends her time exterminating for a high price are humans with a certain rodent-like disposition. Never mind her age and perceived frailty –that is how…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE OLD WOMAN WITH THE KNIFE (2022) BY GU BYEONG-MO – AN ELDERLY WOMAN ASSASSIN FINDS LOVE AND HOPE
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – In an unnamed country, a family of three settles into a creaking house at the edge of an ominous forest. The father cannot help but notice that something is quite off about this place. Are the trees coughing? No… laughing? As so many…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: AT THE EDGE OF THE WOODS (2022) BY MASATSUGU ONO – THE EXISTENTIAL TERROR OF THE MODERN MAN
GABY RUSLI WRITES (in her ongoing series on classic Indonesian literature) — Through versatility and natural eloquence, Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s, The Girl From The Coast (1987), took a seemingly simple story based on the author’s grandmother’s life into a complex metaphor that simultaneously represents female oppression and the exploitative dynamics between the ruling class…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL FROM THE COAST (1987) BY PRAMOEDYA ANANTA TOER — A PEASANT GIRL TURNED AN ARISTOCRATIC WIFE
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – “The sky is about to fall. Where do you go?” To be a child is to imagine a world made of glass. All your romanticized beliefs about your country and its people are contained within one fragile crystal sphere that can fracture at…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE COLOR OF THE SKY IS THE SHAPE OF THE HEART (2022) BY CHESIL – A BEAUTIFUL AND HEARTBREAKING COMING-OF-AGE STORY
ALEC FARMER WRITES – The Cultural Revolution was a notorious period of China’s history that has been analyzed time and time again worldwide. The strict policies of Mao Zedong shattered the livelihoods of China’s citizens. Few people remain who can tell their stories of that dark and turbulent period. In the eyes of Chinese…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: FLOWING WITH THE PEARL RIVER, MEMOIR OF A RED CHINA GIRL (2022) – WHAT HISTORY LOOKS LIKE FOR THOSE WHO LIVED IT.
GABY RUSLI WRITES (in a series of reviews on Indonesian classics) — Is it not ironic to witness a person of faith advocating for love and understanding yet punishing a man for loving another man? For Indonesian author Norman Erikson Pasaribu, growing up as a gay man of Batak descent (an ethnic group…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: SERGIUS SEEKS BACCHUS BY NORMAN ERIKSON PASARIBU (2019) – THE POWERFUL POEMS OF A QUEER INDONESIAN
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Society’s rejection of Takiko is not solely because of her sudden pregnancy at the tender age of twenty-one. It is Takiko’s unfettered commitment to herself and her happiness that causes her family and Japanese society to ostracize and condemn her. Takiko’s self-conviction is…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: WOMAN RUNNING IN THE MOUNTAINS (2022) BY YŪKO TSUSHIMA – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SINGLE PARENT?
GABY RUSLI WRITES (in a series of reviews on Indonesian classics still in print) — It is a well-known fact that many great revolutions started from the circulation of finely written, brave literature. For the Indonesian natives who were growing weary of endless backbreaking work and hunger, Multatuli’s Max Havelaar (1860) represented what many…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: MAX HAVELAAR (1860) BY MULTATULI — REVISITING THE FUEL THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION AGAINST DUTCH OPPRESSION
ANGELINE KEK WRITES — When do we learn to live for ourselves and not others? How do we unlearn the adjustments we have been instructed to make to be deserving of genuine love, as if we are not deserving by default? After all, we are the experiences that we have…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: COME CLEAN (2021) BY JOSHUA NGUYEN — RECLAIMING PURITY
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – What would happen if your country sank into the ocean? Would you still have a claim to your “homeland”? What about the language you speak? Could it still be considered your “native language”? In Yoko Tawada’s latest release of dystopian fiction, Scattered All Over…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: SCATTERED ALL OVER THE EARTH (2022) BY YOKO TAWADA – ‘THE LAND OF SUSHI’ VANISHES
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – What exactly is the ‘self,’ and how can it be defined? From modern psychology, we know that human minds can be usurped through drastic techniques such as brainwashing, manipulation, and even hypnosis. Elusive and slippery in nature, the malleable ‘self’ forms and reforms…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: MY ANNIHILATION (2022) BY FUMINORI NAKAMURA – A SADISTIC NEW THRILLER THAT QUESTIONS YOUR REALITY
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Through a vulnerable child’s eyes, parents represent stability, protection, and even eternity. What happens when eternity grows small and seemingly insignificant? Adolescents, ostensibly indestructible and infinitely hot-headed, get their first taste of personal freedom and start to detach from their nurturers. As one generation grows stronger and…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: LONGING AND OTHER STORIES (2022) BY JUN’ICHIRŌ TANIZAKI – A CLASH OF DIFFERENT GENERATIONS.
GABY RUSLI WRITES (in a series of reviews on Indonesian classics) — Corruption. Collusion. Nepotism. The hypocrisy of the wealthy. All odds are stacked against the poor. These are some of the authentic and intriguing themes in Mochtar Lubis’ third novel, Twilight in Djakarta (1963). Lubis’ story challenges an autocratic leader and…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: TWILIGHT IN DJAKARTA (1963) BY MOCHTAR LUBIS – AN INDONESIAN’S LETTER TO HIS FAILING COUNTRY
GABY RUSLI WRITES – Nowadays, widespread education is viewed as a method to acquire more wealth rather than a new-age privilege. In Andrea Hirata’s classic work, The Rainbow Troops (2005), he recounts his childhood on the island of Belitung, Indonesia, through the story of ten incredibly unique and eager students whose families depend…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE RAINBOW TROOPS (2005) BY ANDREA HIRATA — THE POWER OF EDUCATION IN A HOPELESS WORLD
BRIANNA HIRAMI WRITES – Falling in love is already hard enough as it is without the constant fear of being outcasted for who you love. When your and your loved ones’ identity is not socially acceptable in society, it makes the thought of falling in love absolutely terrifying. One becomes incessantly…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: LOVE IN THE BIG CITY (2021) BY SANG YOUNG PARK: LOVE AGAINST ALL ODDS