This dazzling novella from a rising star of Indonesian literature explores generational legacies, lost loves, the damage that war does to men, and the damage that men do to women.
In today’s Jakarta, an unnamed man tells the story of his lifelong friend Nastiti, and what happened on the day she vanished. In the Dutch East Indies’ Semarang, a young Indo-Dutch girl, Rukmini, is captured by the Japanese military and is forced into prostitution. Years later, Arini travels to the Netherlands to share her mother’s dark past with a researcher.
After the American occupation of Japan in WWII ends, a former war photographer revisits his memories of Hanako, the wife of a traumatised ex-Imperial soldier, but can’t escape his own darkness. And in present-day Osaka, a young Indonesian woman, Dara, haunted by her past and struggling to conceive, becomes obsessed with a Japanese porn star.
Full of surprising turns, and in stunning prose, Birth Canal tells the interwoven stories of women that span time and history.
“Indonesian author Dias Novita Wuri is a rising literary star. Her novella Birth Canal writhes with talent compressed into a forceful and beguiling suite of interconnected stories … Wuri’s gift for metaphor is matched by a supple and sidewinding narrative construction that follows women across time and place.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
View all reviews
“[N]othing short of genius … For such a short work, it contains multitudes. Expertly translated by the author … Birth Canal reveals the triumphs and tribulations of several generations of Indonesian women, each dealing with their own personal struggles with their lovers, humanity, and the course of world events.”
Driftless Area Review