Beauty is a Wound – Eka Kurniawan

Audacious, expressive and surprising are the three words that come to mind after reading Beauty is a Wound. Translated from Indonesian this novel tells the story of the prostitute Dewi, who after twenty-one years rises from the dead to avenge a curse placed on her family. How did she die? Who placed this curse and why? The reader is taken on a journey through wars, incest, violence, murder and heartbreak.


Beauty is a Wound was like anything else I have ever read. Satirical and fable-like it had me hooked from the beginning. If you are sensitive at all to strong themes, beware as this novel is rife with rape and violence. That being said due the detached and fantastical manner it is written in the story is not as horrific as one might expect. This tale is long and meandering but it does come together and tie in nicely with a satisfying ending.


The character are numerous and do get a little confusing at times but are fun and unique  as is the novel as a whole. If you are looking to expand your reading of the world to experience another culture, or want to try out something new – a modern take comparable in a way to the old sagas and myths, then Beauty is a Wound is most definitely for you. I guarantee it will surprise you and leave you wanting more.