My recent study of gamelan has rekindled my interest in Indonesia as a whole. I’ve been rediscovering a number of my old texts.
Amongst the most interesting are the novels by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. I’ve been re-reading the Buru Quartet, the novels composed during his imprisonment:
The old people teach us through their legends that there is a mighty god called Batara Kala. They say it is he who makes all things move further and further from their starting point, inexorably, towards some unknown final destination. A human blind to the future, I could do no more than hope to know. We never even really understand what we have already lived through.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Child of all Nations
His work synthesizes so many different types of traditions and histories. Ananta Toer’s work is both indebted to Western literature and the Wayang Kulit of Indonesia.