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Man Tiger

by Eka Kurniawan

A short but incredibly powerful novel with the unusual setting of a coastal village in Indonesia. The novel can be read as a saga of two families at war internally and with each other but the legend of the Indonesian 'man tiger' adds a magical element. It took me a bit of time to work out the timescale and differentiate the characters to begin with, but stick with it, it’s well worth the effort.

Extract

With both fists still firm on the handlebars,the bicycle reared up like a horse yanked by its reins. Panting he told them that Margio had killed Anwar Sadat .... 'By God,' said Major Sadrah. For a moment they exchanged baffled glances, as if it were a joke they couldn't understand. 'This afternoon I saw him carrying that war relic of an old, rusty samurai sword. Darned kid, I hope he didn't get it back after I'd confiscated the damn thing.'
'He didn't' said Ma Soma. 'The kid bit through his jugular.'
Translated by Labodalih Sembiring

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