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Amba: The Question of Red Paperback – 7 Nov 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Review

‘Amba is a valuable novel for the tales of the incarceration that it researches into’.—The New Indian Express

‘Amba is an exhaustive, well-researched recapitulation of history told as a tempestuous romance’.—Deccan Herald

About the Author

Laksmi Pamuntjak is a bilingual Indonesian novelist, poet, essayist, journalist and an award-winning food writer. Amba: The Question of Red , her bestselling first novel, won Germany’s LiBeraturpreis 2016 and was named #1 on Germany’s Fall 2015 Weltempfaenger list of the best works of fiction translated into German from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Arab world. The novel was also shortlisted for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2012 and appeared on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Top 8 list of the best books of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015.
Pamuntjak was the Indonesian representative for Poetry Parnassus at the 2012 London Olympics. Her bestselling second novel, Aruna and Her Palate , will be published in the US and Germany in 2017. Her latest publication is There Are Tears In Things: Collected Poems and Prose (2001-2016). She works as an art and food consultant, writes opinion articles on culture and politics for the Guardian and divides her time between Berlin and Jakarta.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Latest Edition edition (7 November 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9385755307
  • ISBN-13: 978-9385755309
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

It was a book that had me hooked from the first page. Lakshmi Pamuntjak has a way with words that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. The little nuances of each character, setting, the details, flashbacks and characterisations and honey dripping language have given me a hangover! I thought Memoirs of a Geisha was stupendous and it would be ages before I read something that would make me reel under the aftereffects of the words and characters but this one was a notch above that one. I know. I can’t believe it either! The character of Amba was strong, bold and tumultuous and every now and then, I could feel like I was reading about myself.
The backdrop of Amba’s story is set in the time when Indonesia was suffering from a civil unrest and Buru Islands was a penal colong where communist supporters and prisoners of war were kept and killed. Although the unrest is an important part of the story, you won’t find it overburdening the plot. Sometimes, the story is littered with narration about the same but it is justified since not everyone knows about it. It may drag at times because it mostly banks on Indonesian culture and as an outsider it’s difficult to grasp the language turns, euphemisms and metaphors but once you get the hang of it, it just melts on your tongue. The suspense unravels slowly and gradually without rushing through the words and I wouldn’t have liked it any other way.
There is a strong streak of beautiful literature references and that’s the main strong point of the story. I absolutely loved how Amba banked on her own opinions and views, defying the more acceptable act of women falling into a pattern of unquestioned agreement. I’m deliberately avoiding the characters of Bhisma and Salwa because it’s their characters that define the course of the plot.
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