January 25, 2007

What I am about to start reading...

I am so looking forward to the delivery from Amazon that should arrive in a day or two. I have, after arguing with myself about not having enough time for random reading, finally given in. I ordered the Buru Quartet. It was highly recommended on a blog I read regularly and like a lot as the least read great novel of the 20th century.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer "wrote" his epic quartet while imprisoned as a political prisoner by the Suharto regime after his bloody rise to power in 1965. He was already a well-known writer when he was imprisoned. The regime tried to break his spirit by burning down his library and depriving him of access to pen and paper. Yet, at the end of each day of hard labor, Pak Pram (as he was affectionately known) would gather the other prisoners around him and narrate his epic novel to them. They would put these down on paper. When he was finally allowed to write, his fellow prisoners shouldered his work so that he could finish his epic for posterity. Priests and river-boatmen would smuggle these manuscripts out for illicit publication. After his release at they end of 14 years, the quartet was final published, and immediately banned in Indonesia.

This should be an fascinating read. A true and compelling triumph of the human spirit.

Indonesia - or rather Java - seems to me to have a lot of cultural and sociological similarities to Bangladesh...

1 comment:

Shy said...

Just to pick up on that last comment you made, I'm with you on that one. Indonesia I reckon is the kind of nation we can model our develpment on.