Tag Archives: rape

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Beauty is a Wound Title: Beauty is a Wound
Author: Eka Kurniawan
Translator: Annie Tucker
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
ISBN: 978-9385755682
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 480
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

“Beauty is a wound” that borders on the mystical, the surreal, the magic realism and the unbelievable and scores full marks on each of these parameters. It is the kind of book that will not leave you that easy and you will keep going back to it, as you think more and more about the characters, some lines and the plot in general.

The book is everything you can possibly imagine it to be – it is historical in nature, a sweeping family saga, a book of tragedy, legend, humour, rape, monstrosity and more.

What is the book about though?

The book is about Indonesia – it is about the Indonesian way of life and more often than not, about its politics, freedom, culture and the ties that aren’t cut off that easy. It is about ghosts – multiple ghosts at that, about how Dewi Ayu refused to leave her homeland when the Dutch bolted, and how she rises beyond the grave when her family is at stake.

The allegory of the country being a woman is way too strong in the book, hence the rape and pillage scenes are extremely violent and you can only stomach it if you are metaphorically made of steel at that. “Beauty is a wound” also to me in most places felt heavily inspired by Marquez, but the sad part is that anyone who attempts to write in this genre, will be compared to Marquez, whether they like it or not.

Eka Kurniawan’s writing is very different and quite refreshing might I add. This also to a very large extent comes from the translation which shines on every page, as done by Annie Tucker. You don’t want to miss out on this book. It will be tough getting into, it will be raw and intense as you read it, but you will savour it and want more of this masterpiece.

Dead Like You by Peter James

Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Christian Louboutin, Ferragamo, Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix;; do these names mean anything to you? For many in fashion they are the names of the most exquisite high end fashion shoes in the world. Expensive, oh, yes! These shoes are not for the faint hearted, 5 to 6 inch heels with straps and feathers and the best leather money can buy. These names and shoes play a large part in this novel, ‘Dead Like You’. These ladies shoes become the key piece of evidence and most promising lead into a series of rapes that take place around Brighton around the New Year.

Buy Dead Like You
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is the man in charge and in the lead of this British series. A woman is attacked and raped in Brighton with one of her high-heeled, designer shoes. The attacker then leaves, taking the expensive shoes with him. When the rapist strikes again Roy Grace realizes that both attacks are almost identical to the Shoe Man case he worked on in 1997. Six women were attacked before the Shoe Man vanished, and his final victim was never found. Roy presumed that she was murdered, and it always bothered him that the case was never solved. The characters are well written, and we meet all possible Shoe Men candidates. All the clues are there, and although we might think we know who the rapist murderer is, there is an interesting twist at the end.

Roy Grace is a man who sees the broad picture and does not view the world in black and white. The careful writing of each character makes us feel very anxious for them and the suspense builds. With flashbacks to 1997 when Roy was a young Police Officer working the Shoe Man case we also meet him at a time when he is happily married to his now missing wife Sandy. His current partner, Cleo, is pregnant. Because Cleo and Roy want to get married, he can officially declare Sandy as dead. There is a real mystery here, and I assume there will be more to come in the next book. The police procedures are precise and carefully written. I was particularly impressed with the amount of research on rape that was imparted in this book. Excellent information that should be shared. The sense of horror he creates in his victims brings to life the horrific fear that each feels.

Peter James has developed a British crime series that is so fast paced and so well written that I will recommend it to my friends. It is rich and satisfying and full of suspense with twists that abound. He uses the new social media, Twitter and Facebook, to trace the day to day lives of the characters, and we feel the mystery that surrounds. Highly Recommended.

Dead Like You; James, Peter; Picador; Rs. 299