The Mute's Soliloquy by Pramoedya Toer

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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 eleven years. He survived under brutal conditions, somehow managing to produce his masterwork, the four novels of the Buru Quartet, as well as the remarkable journal entries, essays, and letters that comprise this moving memoir.

Reminiscent of the work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Mute's Soliloquy is a harrowing portrait of a penal colony and a heartbreaking remembrance of life before it. With a resonance far beyond its particular time and place, it is Pramoedya's crowning achievement--a passionate tribute to the freedom of the mind and a celebration of the human spirit.

"A haunting record of a great writer's attempt to keep his imagination and his humanity alive."-- The New York Times Book Review

"A story too vast and serious to ignore."-- San Francisco Chronicle (front page review)

About Pramoedya Toer

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Pramoedya Ananta Toer, born on the island of Java in 1925, was imprisoned first by the Dutch, then by the Indonesian government as a political prisoner. He received the PEN Freedom to Write Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Mark Hanusz is the founder and manager of Equinox Publishing, Pramoedyas Indonesian publisher. Willem Samuels also translated The Mute's Soliloquy and The Fugitive.
Published January 1, 1999 by HYPERION. 375 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, War. Non-fiction

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His story describes the difficulties faced by himself and his fellow prisoners: they were forced to clear roads to the interior of the island using only their hands, to till the hard-packed arid soil of the fields with hand hoes, to build rice paddies in sweltering swamps without proper clothing.

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Publishers Weekly

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Only its fragmentary structure (for which there is good reason) will keep Pramoedya's memoir from being ranked with Eugenia Ginzburg's Journey into the Whirlwind among the great documents by 20th-century political prisoners.

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Project MUSE

Though he and Sukarno had a personal relationship, Sukarno had been unable, or unwilling, to protect Pramoedya from arrest and imprisonment in the early 1960s, when Pramoedya had published Hoakiau di Indonesia (The Chinese in Indonesia), an impassioned defense of the country's Chinese minority.

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