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Durga/Umayi Paperback – May 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (May 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295983922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295983929
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 268 g

Product Description

Review

This is easily one of the most inventive, urgent and passionate texts I've read. It's also a testament to what skilled translators, the neglected heroes of the world literature scene, can achieve. Hats off to you, Ward Keeler.--Ann Morgan"ayearofreadingtheworld.com" (01/01/2012)

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LITFIC

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Living Life at the Center of the Swirl Oct. 24 2004
By C. Thresher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing read. I thought I was lost by the end of the first chapter, but soon realized I was actually bobbing right next to the unseen narrator and main character: we were all swept into the strong waters of recent (1960s-present) Indonesian history.

This is the story of an ordinary woman drawn by fate to witness and participate in a string of delirious events that unfold after Indonesia's independence from the Dutch colonial powers. This woman, Auntie Wi, Madame Nussy, Sis Tiwi, (whatever she decides to call herself) spirals around the world of partisan politics, financial corruption, and unsatisfied love with a charmed and resiliant spirit, but in the end finds herself yearning for some imagined dream of a simpler life. The surprising end to her unfinished tale haunted me for days. Did she finally find some happiness in accepting her place in history? Did she discover how to clutch the worst of her desires while yet hanging on to a shred of sweet memory? Would her friend the historical microphone ever come back to hear her thoughts?

The work is written in a style that reminds me some oral epic overheard on a long bus ride, where details and names are spun out with dizzying relentlessness. Other authors have used this consciousness streaming mode to tell their tales, but there is something intoxicating here about the cadences and rhythms of the words. Here is a refreshing take on a topic that many of us know little about, written in a form that left me buzzing with thoughts each time I reluctantly put the book down. The translator assists at all turns here, giving the reader an ample introduction to the story and the recent history of Indondesia, but not overwhelming the tale; footnotes are provided where clarification is needed.

All in all, a stunning work.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Surreal Indonesian Tale Oct. 28 2004
By Michael McCright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Y.B. Mangunwijaya's novel "Durga/Umayi" tells the engaging story of a woman's ongoing personal transformation while the country she lives in moves past colonialism into independence. The book works well on two levels. First, as a literary novel filled with vividly drawn characters--especially Iin (aka Punyo Iin Sulinda Pertiwi Nusamusbida), the not-very-sympathetic protangonist--that contains colorful descriptions of the sometimes surreal situations they find themselves in; it is told in a most unorthodox way. Suggestions made by translator Ward Keeler in his introduction helped greatly in knowing how to approach the text.

Second, "Durga/Umayi" is an excellent introduction to the modern history and culture of Indonesia, particularly for someone who knows little about Southeast Asia. Again, Dr. Keeler's introduction and footnotes are an invaluable aid.

Mangunwijaya's narrative style and the surreal nature of his novel were a bit challenging at first, but after a few pages it became an engaging read. "Durga/Umayi" is a fascinating story told with great wit and empathy, and well worth reading.

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