APPLE AND KNIFE
(translated by Stephen J Epstein)
OUT MARCH 2018 – PRE-ORDER NOW
Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves into the supernatural to explore the dangers and power of occupying a female body in today’s world.
These short fictions set in the Indonesian everyday—in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages—reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface. Sometimes wacky and always engrossing, this is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.
Mara finds herself brainstorming an ad campaign for Free Maxi Pads, with a little help from the menstruation-eating hag of her childhood. Jamal falls in love with the rich and powerful Bambang, but it is the era of the smiling general and, if he’s not careful, he may find himself recruited to Bambang’s brutal cause. Solihin would give anything to make dangdut singer Salimah his wife – anything at all.
In the globally connected and fast-developing Indonesia of Apple and Knife, taboos, inversions, sex and death all come together in a heady, intoxicating mix full of pointed critiques and bloody mutilations. Women carve a place for themselves in this world, finding ways to subvert norms or enacting brutalities on themselves and each other.
LENGTH: 208 pp.
PUBLICATION DATE: March 2018
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Intan Paramaditha is an Indonesian writer now based in Sydney. She is the acclaimed author of the two short story collections, Sihir Perempuan (2005) and Kumpulan Budak Setan (2010, with Eka Kurniawan and Ugoran Prasad), from which the stories of Apple and Knife are drawn, as well as the novel Gentayangan (2017). She is a lecturer in film and media studies at Macquarie University.
PRAISE FOR APPLE AND KNIFE
Eka Kurniawan, internationally acclaimed author of Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger, Man Booker International Prize 2016 finalist
“In Apple and Knife, Intan Paramaditha has turned the fairytale on its head. Instead of helpless maidens, these fables are bursting with fierce and fabulous females, determined to exact justice in an unjust world. As the enigmatic title suggests, the writing is juicy and incisive. Every story is a gem and, as with all good fairytales, there are important lessons to be learned.”
Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award
“Deliciously dark and expertly disturbing, Intan Paramaditha’s compelling Apple and Knife will haunt you. Her weird, original stories reveal the darkness behind old tales and the shadows lurking at the edges of modern life.”
Ryan O’Neill, author of The Weight of a Human Heart and Their Brilliant Careers, winner of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction
“Abject and visceral, the stories in Apple and Knife are incise, humorous and vividly realised. Intan Paramaditha transgresses narrative conventions, bringing the villain into intimate proximity. Her tropes are marvellously bound, ranging from allegory, dystopian realism to erotic fantasy. Luminous and dangerously entertaining.”
Michelle Cahill, author of Letter to Pessoa and winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing
“Paramaditha’s stories are shockingly bold and macabrely funny, powerfully defamiliarising the cultural lore of patriarchy. What makes them special is their lack of interest in representing women as victims – here, the taboo of feminist anger is flagrantly and entertainingly broken.”
The Saturday Paper
“Apple and Knife challenges contemporary national ideas about womanhood. All the stories in this book speak of distinctive aspects of women’s lives, like virginity, menstruation, abortion and marriage, and peel off the myths surrounding them. At a glance, the women in the stories — be they a mother, a daughter, a sister, a blue-collar worker, a white-collar worker or even a fiction writer — could be seen as disobedient. In an interview with Whiteboard Journal, Paramaditha admits she wants to reclaim the word bandel, or “disobedient”. Her idea of disobedience, however, is not a conventional gesture, like smoking or having a tattoo, but the inclination to break through, to cross borders, to resist.”
Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Mekong Review
“Apple and Knife is an engrossing collection of short stories by Intan Paramaditha, translated into English from Indonesian for the first time by Stephen J. Epstein. I found myself so absorbed in the tales that I repeatedly lost track of time while reading. Fairytales, mythology, bits of horror and fantasy, moralistic vengeance, infidelity, and even witchcraft are all thrown together with a feminist bent to deliver the chapters in this small volume.”
Suzanne Steinbruckner, Readings