A Whiff of Truth

Despite boasting perennial nobel candidate and literary giant Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's best-known cultural stars tend to spring from the small screen. So when a 27-year-old with a keen eye and quick wit penned a devastating examination of some of the country's most taboo subjects, it wasn't just the critics who were amazed. The only thing rarer than a female author in Indonesia is a best-selling one, a distinction Ayu Utami earned after the 1998 release of her first novel, Saman. The book, which has sold more than 100,000 copies and been reprinted 34 times, has made Utami the leading light...

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