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Lelaki Harimau

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  4,026 ratings  ·  784 reviews
Pada lanskap yang sureal, Margio adalah bocah yang menggiring babi ke dalam perangkap. Namun di sore ketika seharusnya rehat menanti musim perburuan, ia terperosok dalam tragedi pembunuhan paling brutal. Di balik motif-motif yang berhamburan, antara cinta dan pengkhianatan, rasa takut dan berahi, bunga dan darah, ia menyangkal dengan tandas. “Bukan aku yang melakukannya,” ...more
Paperback, 193 pages
Published 2004 by Gramedia Pustaka Utama
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Lark Benobi
This small novel turned out to be one of the most moving reads of 2015 for me. It took a while for me to accept its rhythms and to realize that this book has been completely misunderstood by anyone who thinks the tiger living within Margio has anything to do with making this a book of fantasy--this novel instead feels like a glimpse of the real world, from the perspective of those living in a small village on an Indonesian coastline. It feels like a place where belief in the supernatural fits ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
In the opening line we are told that one man brutally kills another. We don’t understand why until the very last page. In between, there’s a haunting, rambling, poetic story being told from several directions, all of it as tense and sweltering as the coastal village that is the setting.

The magic-realism label barely applies here, I think. The story feels very real and very sad. A young man is brought to breaking point much the way people of colonized countries are brought there. The pent-up
A person kills only from an impulse that springs from his blood and sinews, from the vestiges of ancient struggles.
― Émile Zola, The Beast Within(Les Rougon-Macquart)

Eka Kurniawan may have been inspired by Emile Zola's powerful novel of the nature of man: who would devolve to primitive instincts harkening back to animal behaviors, to the history of the male for dominance, and conquest of the female to reduce her to sexual subjugation. In The Beast Within(Les Rougon-Macquart), Zola posited that
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, indonesia
This dreamy, meandering novel is written around a murder in a quiet Indonesian village, a crime whose victim and perpetrator are both given away in the opening sentence. Darting backwards and forwards in great swirls of flashbacks and foreshadowings, the story fills in the connections between the two characters and their families, gradually building up a kind of pointillist image of the town and the various tensions that led to the killing.

The young man at the centre of the book is possessed by
Sidharth Vardhan
Even if you leave alone magical realism, there is a hint of Marquez in this author's prose. If that doesn't sell the book, I don't know what will. Just look at this:

"After two days in the hospital, Komar asked to be taken home and said firmly to Mameh, “Don’t call for any more doctors. I’m healthy enough to wait for my grave to be dug.”

"The city government was said to have given him a plot of land in the heroes’ cemetery as a reward for his service, something he described as an invitation to
Missy J
The most moving novel that I read in 2016. I haven't written a review for this because I'm still literally speechless. All I can say is that Kurniawan wrote a novel for the many, many voiceless women in third world countries. Is it inevitable that oppressed people often oppress those that are weaker (women, children, disabled, elderly, animals...)?

This short novel is divided into five parts. In Part One we hear that a murder happened in a small unnamed Javanese village. Margio, a young man
Nancy Oakes
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded up. The short version follows; if you want the chatty cathy version, you can always click here.

Man Tiger is just flat-out amazing, which is probably one reason it's been listed for the Man Booker International Prize for 2016. I was not at all disappointed -- au contraire -- I became the embodiment of the cliché about being glued to the story. Not only does this story move back and forth through time to get to the core of this tale, it also incorporates local folklore and mythology
✨    jamieson   ✨
I've been to the tutorial for this book and now I'm an intellectual. time to write a proper review

“If a man couldn’t control his beast, it could turn so violent that nothing could restrain it once enraged.”

I read this for my English major world literatures unit, and it's the first piece of Indonesian literature I've ever read. I was incredibly excited to read it, because it was a first and also because I've heard good things about this book out and about. It's was shortlisted for the Man
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can no longer say that I speak Bahasa Indonesia fluently. I have an Aussie accent now though really, my Indonesian isn’t that bad! In any case, there are always certain things which do not ever translate well and it’s to my advantage that I can mix the two languages. I have, however, a keen interest in translated works especially from Bahasa Indonesia. This was the only basis I had as interest in Man Tiger and boy, I was blown away.

Man Tiger drew me in right from the very beginning and kept me
Well written, but I think some of the Indonesian author's words and ideas did not translate well into English. This is the story of a surprisingly violent murder in a small village, where a 20-year old boy-man tears open the throat of an older villager in the opening chapter. The rest of the book is spent providing the backstory of what motivated young Margio (the man tiger) to act as he did. I thought the book was well paced, but found the inconsistent timeline a bit hard to follow.
Paul Fulcher
This for me was the 12th of the 13 book longlist for the Man Booker International prize, many read in quick succession, and I think I'm suffering from MBI fatigue.

The longlist contains some genuinely exceptional books (Story of the Lost Child, Mend the Living, Death by Water, The Vegetarian), and some that are valiant failures (Cup of Rage, Four Books), but there does seem to be a generic MBI book: White Hunger, A General Theory of Oblivion, Tram 83, A Whole Life and now Man Tiger.

Not too long
Nidhi Mahajan
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Edit] This book review was originally written for and has been published on their website here.

Lyrical, bawdy, experimental, political: There aren’t enough adjectives for this novel.

Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger (2015) is almost a literary child of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and Gabriel García Márquez’ Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981). However, this does not mean that it lacks originality. Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016, Man Tiger is as much a
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, fantasy, adult
Eka Kurniawan
Lelaki Harimau
Gramedia Pustaka Utama
190 pages

Before I start writing the review for Lelaki Harimau, there are two confessions that I have to make. First, if you read my previous reviews religiously (which, I'm sure, you don't), there is a convention that I follow which is to write my review in the same language with the book that I read. I read Kurniawan's Lelaki Harimau in Indonesian, because even if I sound so sanctimonious and judgmental and hipster and pretentious in my
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2016
I’ve read fantasy novels set in universes more familiar than this story from a country I knew practically nothing about beyond occasional news, and that blends what is to many Western eyes, the archaic, the modern and the outright unknown of Indonesian culture and environment.
At centre is one folkloric element – a youth who contains the inherited spirit of a female white tiger – but it is presented as matter-of-factly as all other aspects of this essentially realist whydunnit. We know from the
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
1. Continuing my journey of authors round the world, I have now landed in Indonesia. The last piece of Indonesian literature I read (years ago) was Pramoedya Ananta Toer's absolutely haunting 'The Mute's Soliloquy' (5.0*). Eka Kurniawan has been hailed as PAT's successor, the next leading light of Indonesian writing and I wanted to see for myself the veracity of this.

2. Unfortunately, I can't attest to the truth or falsity of that declaration, partly because one is a memoir and one (this one) is
Mindy McAdams
There are two things I especially liked about this: The level of detail, and the storytelling choices concerning chronology.

Detail: Never burdensome, never overdone, the details drop in like leaves falling naturally from trees. Some of them are, in fact, about trees, types of leaves, flowers. Some are just the mention of woven rattan, the material of a chair, the smell in a room, a girl wearing flip-flops. These details provide a fine sense of place, a small village far from the cities of West
I might return and raise my number of stars...
My only complaint really is the distance of the narrator from the humans portrayed. There are "she thought..." "he wanted..." etc. internal insights, but few lines of dialogue or cases of character growth: Instead things happen to people and they either falter or persevere. I blame my discontent on the amazing dialogue of the previous book (Sweetland) which revealed depths of character and shared histories in a few lines of interchange. I miss that
Stella Wenny
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll do a review in English since I have a few non-Indonesian friends on goodreads who are interested in reading this book :)
This book is about Margio who killed a man and the long background story on why he did it. To be honest, it kinds of remind me to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Something happened in the beginning of the book and the rest of the book explains why that could happen. You really won't totally understand why Margio did it unless you read until the last sentence.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, netgalley
Of the 68 reviews on Goodreads of Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan, only a handful are written in English by reviewers who do not also speak Indonesian. This is a shame because Man Tiger, and Kurniawan, deserve a wider audience. Verso Books is known primarily as the publisher of nonfiction works in such areas as cultural, literary, social, and political theory, and it has now expanded its expertise in translation to the world of fiction. Given its leftist slant, it is not surprising that Verso's ...more
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was told that the Indonesian language does not contain adjectives, that emphasis or qualification can only be conveyed verbally. I doubt this, since Indonesian is based on Malay, but it would explain the style of this novel in translation. The language is sparse, matter-of-fact and lacking in colour, but this works surprisingly well with the narrative.
The story is one of murder and domestic violence, with a bit of magic realism mixed in. It is well told; each of the five chapters gives a
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a powerful quality to Kurniawan's storytelling which had me hooked from the start and carried through to the last page. Unlike the more heavy handed technique of switching character viewpoints between chapters, the smooth and subtle temporal and character transitions here felt fluid and natural. There was a folklore and dreamlike quality to the story, but yet it is firmly grounded in gritty true life. It's unlike anything else I've read, I loved it.
Originally published at

While not as well-rounded as Beauty is A Wound, Man Tiger, first published in 2004, is a great introduction to Eka Kurniawan and Indonesian literature. After all, it tops out at 172 pages, versus Beauty is a Wound (first published in 2002) which has 470 pages.

Man Tiger is not so much a whodunnit as a whydunnit. There is a murder. A man in a small village has been killed. Everyone knows that it was Margio, who insists:

“It wasn’t me,”
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the mother's garden, an abundance of florid language

Maybe it was the translation. It flowed well and had beauty of language, but I felt an emotional disconnect to characters. It often felt like a domestic violence, soap opera, penny dreadful. I guess I wanted a narrative with more folklore and magical realism than abuse of women and children.

The plotting was well constructed with the crime announced right at the beginning and the reason behind it slowly revealed. This was well done with
Astrid Lim
My first time reading Eka Kurniawan and I'm lovin it! The tension, the building anticipation, the very detailed description and delicious flow- I enjoyed all of them.

The story is a bit absurd of course - about an unexpected and unexplained murder happened in a small village in Indonesia - but the way Eka brought us back, layer by layer, to the day that started everything and moved forward to the final climax - perfect bookgasm. Can't wait to read his other works!
Britta Böhler
Not quite my kind of storytelling.
I had trouble feeling engaged with the main character. The way the story is told felt detached and 'cold' to me, despite the emotional journey of the main character and the often cruel events that are described.
Alice Lippart
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story that really pulled me in. It's the kind of story where you slowly peel back the layers to find the truth. The characters were very interesting and the magical realism, although not the most prominent feature of the story, really appealed to me. Definitely worth the read.
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
He brutally murders a neighbor by biting chunks out of his neck and jugular vein. When confronted, Margio calmly declares:

"It wasn't me . . . There is a tiger inside my body."

With those words, Eka Kurniawan introduces us to Margio, his young protagonist in Man Tiger. A white tigress possesses Margio's body. This same white tigress possessed the body of his grandfather before he died. And if you find that difficult to believe, know that Mameh, Margio's sister, witnesses the tiger exiting and
Quite a different book to his debut novel.
Instead of a sprawling novel covering WWII, Indonesia's independence, women's rights and a bit of the supernatural, Man Tiger is small, intense and focused on the animal within.
Situated in a small coastal poor village, Margio commits a gruesome murder. The story revolves around what drives a normally peaceful young man into this grissly deed. There is Indonesia's love of wayang, religion and animism, family violence, the lack of women's rights, erotica
Esther | lifebyesther
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poc
One of the most powerful books I have read this year. I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone. This book checks every one of my boxes. Magic realism. Generational strife. Set in a non-Caucasian culture. Uses houses as characters. Character-driven rather than plot-driven. 20/10. It also touches on the issue of how cultures around the world have used the label "crazy" to deny and silence victims of domestic abuse.
One of the things that I loved the most about this book is how the author tells
When the Man Booker International long list was announced, I chose to purchase a couple of the books that appeared, since one of my goals this year is to read more translated books. The title and cover of this one, as well as the description, were intriguing. And, the book lived up to the impression created.

The book tells the story of a young man named Margio and his parents, with major supporting roles by his sister Mameh and neighbor Anwar Sadat. In the first sentence we are told Margio
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Eka Kurniawan was born in Tasikmalaya in 1975 and completed his studies in the Faculty of Philosophy at Gadjah Mada University. He has been described as the “brightest meteorite” in Indonesia’s new literary firmament, the author of two remarkable novels which have brought comparisons to Salman Rushdie, Gabriel García Márquez and Mark Twain; the English translations of these novels were both ...more
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“Kyai Jahro mengucapkan doa-doa yang tak dimengerti Margio, sebab pelajaran mengajinya tak tuntas betul, pernah khataman namun tak pernah memahami makna, membuatnya sekedar mengangkat tangan dengan telapak tangan terbuka sementara keranjang berisi kelopak bunga tersisa dijejakkan di gundukan tanah, ia amin berkali-kali mengikuti orang lain.” 9 likes
“For that smile, I'll forgive you for sleeping with any bastard." He almost went mad thinking about the chaos in his family, until in a moment of strange epiphany he took his mother's side. He couldn't deny her a little happiness.” 7 likes
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