The best known books set in each country: Indonesia

See here for methodology.

This is a case where actual Indonesian writers are much better represented on Goodreads than on LibraryThing.

TitleAuthorGoodreads
raters
LibraryThing
owners
Eat, Pray, LoveElizabeth Gilbert1,746,16922,140
Lord JimJoseph Conrad31,1429,039
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883Simon Winchester20,7784,139
Max HavelaarMultatuli [Eduard Douwes Dekker]9,3061,654
Bumi Manusia / This Earth of MankindPramoedya Ananta Toer19,907762
Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: How One Man’s Courage Changed the Course of HistoryGiles Milton4,9271,731
Cantik itu Luka / Beauty Is a WoundEka Kurniawan14,764467
Laskar Pelangi / The Rainbow TroopsAndrea Hirata30,237224

So, I’m excluding Eat, Pray, Love because less than 50% of the book is set in Indonesia – the Indonesian section is longer than the Italian or Indian sections, but still less than half. In Lord Jim, the settlement of Patusan where the protagonist finds redemption is certainly in what were then the Dutch East Indies and is now Indonesia, but we don’t get there until just over halfway through the book, so it also fails my 50% test. (But it’s a great book.)

I haven’t managed to get hold of Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa, but it sounds very much like the kind of book that I would like, and importantly for our purposes, most (but not all) of it deals with events in and offshore from the current territory of Indonesia. I am less certain about Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, but it seems more likely than not that the majority of its pages are set in the islands.

On the fictional side, Max Havelaar does well on LibraryThing, but three Indonesian works do much better on Goodreads, with Laskar Pelangi / The Rainbow Troops scoring best on GR. It seems to have a real following in other Asian countries as well as Indonesia.

Pakistan next!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.