Deep Vellum will publish Leila S. Chudori’s Homecoming in October 2015 (translated by John H. McGlynn)
Leila S. Chudori (Jakarta, 1962) is Indonesia’s most prominent and outspoken female journalist. She works at TEMPO News Magazine of Indonesia since 1989 . She also is considered one of Indonesia’s boldest story-tellers and is a well-known figure in the Indonesian literary scene.
She is the author of several anthologies of short stories, a novel, TV and film scripts. Leila lives in Jakarta with her daughter, Rain Chudori-Soerjoatmodjo.
Indonesian cover for Homecoming
Homecoming is both a family saga and a story of exile and return, set against the background of historical events in Paris and Indonesia. These events include two dark and violent periods of Indonesia’s history: the 1965 communist purge that marked the rise of the longest-serving Indonesian president Soeharto, and his fall in 1998.
The novel has been described by The Jakarta Globe as “an epic, an ambitious slab of fiction crammed with a rich and diverse cast of characters whose lives have been swept along by Indonesia’s dramatic and at times extremely tragic contemporary history.(…) A wonderful exercise in humanism. It is first and foremost a story about love, passion as well as a sensual — almost primordial — attachment to the land. (…) Chudori balances the grand and bloody national narrative with an intimate and deeply-felt evocation of how the drama and violence of those years and indeed of the subsequent Reformasi period was played out family by family, individual by individual. On a certain level, “Pulang” is also an extended love letter to Indonesia, an evocation of a mood, a state of mind and a place.”
To achieve the rich wealth of historical detail in Homecoming, Leila spent six years researching, reading and conducting interviews with Indonesian political exiles living in Paris, such as Oemar Said and Sobron Aidit, owners of Restaurant Indonesia.
Note (The Act of Killing)
If you watched and were moved by Joshua Oppenheimer’s incredible documentary The Act of Killing last year, or have been following the election of the populist (and first non-military) President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, this novel will help illuminate a remarkable and tragic history from a very beautiful and moving story, told through vignettes spanning Jakarta to Paris and everywhere in between. Leila spent six years researching this novel, including numerous interviews with the owners of Restaurant Indonesia in Paris, which became a home-away-from home for those exiled after the anti-Communist purge in 1965 (whose players in that mass murder, still alive and celebrated as national heroes in Indonesia today, were the central characters in The Act of Killing). We will publish Homecoming in October 2015, just in time for Indonesia’s turn as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair.