The Java Quartet: Stories from Indonesia


During my summer I traveled through Java and Bali with a friend. In between translating, figuring out travel schedules, and describing what little I knew of the history of Indonesia, I had time to get a not-quite-outsider-but-not-quite insider's viewpoint of Indonesia.

My articles have appeared on my column at the Ricepaper magazine, and this post lists out the four articles that form my 'Java Quartet'. This is a nod to Pramoedya Ananta Toer's famous 'Buru Quartet', written during his imprisonment on Buru Island under Suharto's regime. Pramoedya's novels are regarded as the finest examples of Indonesian literature, and make for excellent reading for anyone interested in the region.

Here are my articles:

The Big Durian begins in Jakarta, the first stop on our trip across Java.

Yogyakarta takes place in the cultural hub of Java, steeped in Javanese history and mythology.

This Earth of Mankind explores Surabaya and its history as the City of Heroes.

And finally, The Miners of Ijen takes us to the volcanic crater on the edge of East Java, where a massive sulfur mining operation takes place alongside tourists in search for the famed blue fires.

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