Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Some stories wrap you , trap you in them so hard that no matter how hard you find it to accept the direction it flows, you let it be. There is tragedy ,sorrow and harsh times outlined in each chapter of the book but what it details best is how it impacts real people, people who leave their footprints in the history of a place , a mention in stories passed to generations. I have read this one with a pace and interest unmatched for many books in this genre. This lengthy novel begins with most unusual birth and death - the famous prostitute Dewi Ayu dies two weeks after giving birth to her fourth daughter Beauty. The story then goes back in time since Dewi was a teenage girl,introducing the culture, history and life of Indonesia in the backdrop of World War. We meet the men in Dewi's life , her daughters and the men in their lives, some overlapping multiple generations. Dewi later returns from the grave to know her daughter Beauty and of lives she had left behind. Here the book actually became most interesting for me, mixing paranormal in the already epic tale. I was turned off a little with all the incest and rape but the writing and the story did not let me leave this at any time. The writer has done a good job to make it a part of the whole saga and not some unwanted diversion from the main story. The people portrayed here have basic instinct of survival and possession, of business and lust, of love and the hurt in the path seeking it.

My rating : 4/5

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