Must violence leave those it touches silenced? Or can words emerge from suffering, terror and domination to bring understanding, compassion and even healing?
Putu Oka Sukanta is one of Indonesia’s few writer to grapple with such crucial questions. The richly textured stories in “Wounded Longing” show us the humanity behind the headlines, the emotional lanscape of those strugling to endure political violence, state tyranny and the grinding pain of everyday life in cultures fractured by gender discrimination and relenless poverty.
Putu Oka Sukanta’s works hold a special place in Indonesia’s literatury hidytory for their strikingly realistic depictions of the lives of the oppressed. His characters are not powerless victims of circulstances, but complex humans, honest in their efforts to survive, caught up current of history that they themselves do not always understand. Whether writing about a political prisoner returning to hir village after the mass violence of 1965, a sex worker for whom madness becomes the only language of resistance, a man who finda in his daughter’s birth a painful poetry on inequality, or a farmer cheated by his hopes that tourism can lift his family out of hardship, Putu Oka Sukanta weaves empathy into his words in a way that leaves the reader profoundly touched. Finely crafted and depply moving “Wounded Longing” is essential reading for those seeking to understand Indonesia’past and to help heal its hurta for the future.
Degung Santikarma, Editor in Chief, Latitudes Magazine.
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