Black Water

Author: Louise Doughty

Language: English

Summary: John Harper is in hiding in a remote hut on a tropical island. As he lies awake at night, listening to the rain on the roof, he believes his life may be in danger. But he is less afraid of what is going to happen than of what he’s already done.

In a local town, he meets Rita, a woman with her own tragic history. They begin an affair, but can they offer each other redemption? Or do the ghosts of the past always catch up with us in the end?

Moving between Europe during the Cold War, Civil Rights–era California, and Indonesia during the massacres of 1965 and the subsequent military dictatorship, Black Water explores some of the darkest events of recent history through the story of one troubled man.

In this gripping follow-up to Apple Tree Yard, Louise Doughty writes with the intelligence, vivid characterization, and moral ambiguity that make her fiction resonate in the reader’s mind long after the final page.

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The Mute’s soliloquy

Author: Pramoedya Ananta Toer Language: English Summary: From the author of the Buru Quartet and one of the greatest writers of our time comes a remarkable memoir of imprisonment and survival. In 1965, Pramoedya Ananta Toer was detained by Indonesian authorities and eventually exiled to the penal island of Buru. Without a formal accusation or trial, the onetime national hero was imprisoned on Buru for … Continue reading The Mute’s soliloquy

Olivia & Sophia

Author: Rosie Milne 

Language: English

Summary: Set in London, Java, Sumatra, Penang, Malacca and Singapore, this historical novel takes the form of two diaries of Sir Stamford Raffles’ two wives: Olivia and Sophia. When Raffles sets sail from the cold, damp confines of Georgian London to make his name and fortune in the tropics, he takes with him his new wife, Olivia, a raffish beauty with a scandalous past. She infatuates both his closest friend, a poet, and one of his bitterest rivals, a soldier. Raffles sees what is going on, but he turns a blind eye – or so hopes Olivia. After Olivia’s death, and back on leave in London, Raffles, a man once again in need of a wife, makes a practical marriage. Sophia, no beauty, but curious and intelligent, embraces the opportunity of an exciting life abroad. Marriage brings her great joy but also great sadness. Her life with Raffles becomes a catalogue of loss: of their children, of their possessions, of their savings. And all the while, Raffles, driven and talented, manoeuvres at the centre of global networks of power, trade, politics and diplomacy. His scheming culminates, to his eventual glory, with the founding of a new trading post: Singapore.

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Olivia & Sophia, a novel by Rosie Milne

Olivia & Sophia, The adventures of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the remarkable founder of Singapore as seen through the eyes of his two wives – a novel by Rosie Milne. A while ago I visited the botanic gardens in Bogor, Indonesia, with a group of friends. At one point we came across a monument that Raffles (the founder of modern Singapore) had built upon the … Continue reading Olivia & Sophia, a novel by Rosie Milne

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Man tiger

Author: Eka Kurniawan

Language: English

Summary: A wry, affecting tale set in a small town on the Indonesian coast, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families and of Margio, a young man ordinary in all particulars except that he conceals within himself a supernatural female white tiger. The inequities and betrayals of family life coalesce around and torment this magical being. An explosive act of violence follows, and its mysterious cause is unraveled as events progress toward a heartbreaking revelation. Lyrical and bawdy, experimental and political, this extraordinary novel announces the arrival of a powerful new voice on the global literary stage. – Source:

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Four corners: a journey into the heart of Papua New Guinea

Author: Kira Salak

Language: English

Summary: Salak undertook an epic, solo jungle trek across the remote Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea–often called the last frontier of adventure travel. Traveling by dugout canoe and on foot, experiencing the dangers and wonders of a largely untouched world, she became the first woman to traverse PNG. Salak stayed in villages where cannibalism was still practiced behind the backs of the missionaries, meeting mysterious witch doctors and befriending the leader of the OPM guerrilla movement who fought against the Indonesian occupation of Western New Guinea. Source: Author’s website

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