Kitchen Curse ~ Eka Kurniawan


The acclaimed, Booker-nominated novelist’s first book of stories Hailed as a Southeast Asian Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the exuberant beauty of his prose and the darkly comic surrealism of his stories, Eka Kurniawan is the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for a Man Booker Prize. Here is his first collection of short stories–Indonesian literature’s characteristic form–to be translated into English. A man captures a caronang, a strange, intelligent dog that walks upright, and brings it home, only to provoke an all-too-human outcome. A girl plots against a witch doctor whose crimes against her are, infuriatingly, like any other man’s. Stories explore the turbulent dreams of an ex-prostitute, a perpetual student, victims of anti-communist genocide, an elephant, a stone. Dark, sexual, scatalogical, violent, and mordantly funny, these fractured fables span city and country, animal and human, myth and politics.

Eka Kurniawan was born in Tasikmalaya, Indonesia, in 1975. He studied philosophy at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, and is the author of novels, short stories, essays, movie scripts, and graphic novels. He was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016, and his work has been translated into thirty-five languages. His epic novel of magical realism, Beauty is a Wound, has been widely praised internationally. The New York Review of Books considers Kurniawan “a literary child of Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, and Salman Rushdie,” and Le Monde has suggested that in the future, Nobel jurors may award him the prize “that Indonesia has never received.”

Further reading

Read: A Short Story About Acceptance and Loss, Vice

Review: Kitchen Curse, TF Rhoden, Asian Review of Books

Prompt: Start with the following first line and then write freely for 10 minutes:

He broke the law.

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