Monday, May 01, 2006

Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesian Novelist, Dies

The Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer died on Sunday. Click here for the New York Times obituary.

Pramoedya was best known for "the Buru Quartet," the story of a young, ambitious Javanese political activist and journalist who comes of age in the waning years of Dutch colonialism. The first two volumes, This Earth of Mankind and Child of All Nations are extremely fine novels: written in a sparse but powerful style, they are a coming of age story full of love, suspense, and betrayal--all conveying the indignities of colonialism, racism and oppression.

In my view, the story starts to unravel in the third volume Footsteps, and the fourth volume is so different from (and inferior to) the other volumes that the reader might be best advised to avoid it.

Pramoedya's "Indonesiad" is a rich, beautiful story and shouldn't be missed.

--Marshal Zeringue