Beauty scar

Pam Allen

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While, as many reviewers have pointed out, there are strong elements of magical realism in Eka Kurniawan’s epic novel Beauty Is a Wound, begging comparisons with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the novel is no flight of fancy. It is powerfully, grittily realist. And while many have read this novel as allegory for Indonesia’s colonial past and the legacy of that brutal colonialism, it is in fact more than an allegory. Most of the names, the places, the events mentioned in the novel are real. They happened. Eka Kurniawan has not hidden behind euphemism or metaphor to tell his story or, in many instances, deliver his stinging critique.

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