Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan

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There’s a lot of rape in this novel, and it feels even more gratuitous than many murders. Tedious, and unpleasantly so.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Vivid, bawdy, comic, and arresting, the exciting new novel by the Indonesian phenomenon, Eka Kurniawan


Told in short, cinematic bursts, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is gloriously pulpy. Ajo Kawir, a lower-class Javanese teenage boy excited about sex, likes to spy on fellow villagers in flagrante, but one night he ends up witnessing the savage rape of a beautiful crazy woman by two policemen. Deeply traumatized, he becomes impotent. His efforts to get his virility back all fail, and Ajo Kawir turns to fighting as a way to vent his frustrations. He gets such a fearsome reputation as a brawler that he is hired to kill a thug named The Tiger, but instead Ajo Kawir falls in love with Iteung, a gorgeous female bodyguard who works for the local mafia. Alas, the course of true love never did run smooth… Fast-forward a decade. Now a truck driver, Ajo Kawir has reached a new equanimity, thinking that his penis may be trying to teach him a lesson and even consulting it in many situations as if it were his guru—love may yet triumph.


Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash shows Eka Kurniawan in a gritty, comic, pungent mode that fans of Quentin Tarantino will appreciate. But even with its liberal peppering of fights, high-speed car chases, and ladies heaving with desire, the novel continues to explore Kurniawan’s familiar themes of female agency in a violent male world dominated by petty criminals and a corrupt police state.

 

About Eka Kurniawan

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Annie Tucker is a recipient of a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund AwardBorn in 1975, the author of novels, short stories, essays, movie scripts, and graphic novels Eka Kurniawan has been described as "one of the few influential writers in Indonesia" (The Jakarta Post).
 
Published August 1, 2017 by New Directions. 160 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Jul 04 2017

There’s a lot of rape in this novel, and it feels even more gratuitous than many murders. Tedious, and unpleasantly so.

Read Full Review of Vengeance Is Mine, All Other... | See more reviews from Kirkus

The Economist

Above average
on Jul 13 2017

“Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash”, his third novel, sees the author reining in the surrealism to deliver a pulpy, visceral tale of sex, violence and comeuppance.

Read Full Review of Vengeance Is Mine, All Other... | See more reviews from The Economist
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