*** Beauty Is A Wound by Eka Kurniawan


Beauty Is a Wound is an epic story of a family, intertwined with the colonial history of Indonesia. It opens with the rising from her grave of the family matriarch, a prostitute with a doomed family–so if you don’t care for otherworldly tales, steer clear.

That said, the story is wonderfully told in chapters that skip from colonial times to the present, and from one character to the other. The reader has to work hard to keep up, especially as ghosts frequently add to the large cast of characters. I would have preferred a less heavy hand on the raping and violence, but much of the action takes place during wars and revolutions so it’s par for the course, I suppose.

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