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The Redundancy of Courage

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
An Indonesian island is hastily given independence, and a Chinese-educated homosexual who was born on the island returns from his Canadian university to find his life radically altered. The story, shortlisted for the 1991 Booker Prize, represents an account of a post-colonial disaster.
Paperback, 446 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Paddleless Press (first published 1991)
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Mar 23, 2014 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel is set in a fictional country based on East Timor. The characters are fictional, but they are closely based on people involved in events in East Timor during 1975. The author is from Hong Kong and UK, but I am using the setting for my Around the World (in 52 Books) Challenge.
The events in this story are often grim and graphic. There are no truly 'good' characters, but they are real characters in unreal situations acting as people might in those circumstances. I suppose this could be se
Jul 15, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
The Redundancy of Courage Is set in the fictitious country of Danu in Southeast Asia, which appears to be based on East Timor,

Danu is a Portuguese colony. it is invaded and occupied by its neighbour, which is not named, but sounds like Indonesia. Danu is annexed by the malai and it becomes their fifty eighth province.

The characters are fictional, bur I have read that many of them are based on people who were involved in events in East Timor in 1975.

The narrator's almost disinterested tone see
Feb 10, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a number of attempts to get into this book, whose narrator and protagonist is unlikeable and whose subject matter is unpleasant. However, I'm glad I persevered. This is an unflinching account of the invasion of a fictional Asian country, the resistance, and the international reaction. It is shocking but I'm afraid, consistently and luminously believable.

[spoilers below]

There are heroes - flawed heroes certainly, but heroes they recognisably are. But their resistance to the invasion,
Sebastian Partogi
Dec 15, 2015 Sebastian Partogi rated it it was amazing
An excellent political thriller which terrifies me with its graphic depictions of violence. It is set in the fictitious island of "Danu", located close to Australia, which is invaded by its neighboring country. Soon it becomes apparent that the island is East Timor and the invading 'malais' (local language for 'strangers') is actually Indonesia. Would be interesting to juxtapose this novel's interpretation of East Timor with that of Seno Gumira's Jazz, Perfume and Incident.
Siobhan Markwell
Feb 13, 2016 Siobhan Markwell rated it really liked it
This book is based on East Timor. I would never have believed I could enjoy a book with such detailed battle descriptions but I was riveted. The character of Adolph is perfectly balanced. Flawed and frail, but caught up in extraordinary guerilla war.
Jun 05, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
Not bad for a war book - but just too much violence for me. The narrator makes it bearable since he is not blood-thirsty and quite squeamish.
Sep 23, 2013 Keith rated it really liked it
Very imaginative, well researched description and hence plausible description of an insurgency.
Grammar weak in places, for instance uses "he" as a pronoun for "one" which can be slightly distracting at times.
Generally well told and disturbing, it is about a person's will to survive. The main character is from an ethnic and sexual minority, gains respect and recognition in the rebel movement but never really belongs, so he finds it easy to reinvent himself to survive
Ashley Clark
Mar 11, 2016 Ashley Clark rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. Parts were pretty good, and considering he never went to Timor, he seemed to get a lot of the stuff right. However, it was a classic case of telling rather than showing a lot of his stuff, and I felt next to nothing for all of the characters. I would not have finished this book if it wasn't based on Timor.
Simon Cooper
Aug 08, 2012 Simon Cooper rated it it was amazing
I didn't know about the plight of East Timor until I read this. Happliy the civil war ended years ago. The second part of this book contains an incedible extended sequence of relentless guerilla warfare that is ghastly, exhausting and brilliant
Oct 15, 2016 Kate added it
Shelves: kate
I found it took a while for me to get into this book but once I got there I found this a tremendous read. It is very well written - compelling and informative at the same time.
Aug 03, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
One of the best books I have ever read, unrelenting in its exmanination of courage and weakness and corruption and power.
Nov 25, 2011 Laurie rated it it was ok
I read Sweet Sour and really enjoyed it. This left me so cold that I abandoned it at around Chapter 6.
May 31, 2011 Dhali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A stunning and powerful book beautifully written, telling the story of the war in East Timor
Oct 20, 2010 Amador rated it it was amazing
historical fiction about the tragedy of East Timor, will make you cry and laugh aloud
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Timothy Peter Mo is an Anglo-Chinese novelist. H e is the son of a British mother and a Hong Kong Chinese father. He came to britain as a ten year old.
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