Kitchen Curse: Stories


This collection of short stories by Eka Kurniawan, an Indonesian writer known in Poland for Człowiek tygrys and Piękno to bolesna rana (Eng. Beauty Is a Wound), was published in 2019. Kurniawan was the first Indonesian person to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

Kitchen Curse comprises sixteen short stories with elements that made us fall in love with Kurniawan’s writing style – the surprising creativity and mixing contemporary with folklore. But there is so much more to it: the dark humor, turpism, references to political situation, the history of Indonesia and the playful literary forms (in Rotten Stench the words go on and on like the titular odor only to be stopped by the one full stop ending the story.

The most memorable tale, that will stay with the reader, is probably Caronang – it tells the story of a family raising legendary dog-like creature walking on two legs that was once living deep in the Java jungle. Caronang quickly learns human behavior and finally, one day, reaches for a household gun…

This collection has been brought to you by a collaborative effort of four translators – Annie Tucker, Benedict Anderson, Maggie Tiojakin and Tiffany Tsao – but when reading, it feels like listening to just one voice – the voice of the author.

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