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Latin American connection: Can Indonesian literature have the same influence?

Lara Norgaard

The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta  /  Sun, December 8, 2019  /  02:59 pm
Latin American connection: Can Indonesian literature have the same influence?

Connection: Shared histories between Indonesia and Latin America can also be traced in literary works. (Courtesy of amazon/Gramedia)

Mexico was a country Dea Anugrah only knew from books. The Indonesian author explored Mexico City’s gritty streets through Roberto Bolaño’s cutting prose, which also introduced him to more than a few Mexican drug lords alongside Juan Pablo Villalobos’s character Tochtli. However, it was in August 2017, with a grant from the National Book Committee and a few Alejandro Zambra novels tucked in his bag, that he first set foot in Latin America. “It felt like going home,” Dea said on a hot, dusty afternoon in Kemang, South Jakarta, when asked what it felt like to travel to such a culturally and linguistically different country. He clarified his response by describing one of Bolaño’s short stories, Death of Ulises. Arturo Belano, the story’s main character and an alter ego of the author himself, finally returns home to Mexico City...