Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (Paperback)
Vivid, bawdy, comic, and arresting, the exciting new novel by the Indonesian phenomenon, Eka Kurniawan
Told in short, cinematic bursts, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is gloriously pulpy. Ajo Kawir, a lower-class Javanese teenage boy excited about sex, likes to spy on fellow villagers in flagrante, but one night he ends up witnessing the savage rape of a beautiful crazy woman by two policemen. Deeply traumatized, he becomes impotent. His efforts to get his virility back all fail, and Ajo Kawir turns to fighting as a way to vent his frustrations. He gets such a fearsome reputation as a brawler that he is hired to kill a thug named The Tiger, but instead Ajo Kawir falls in love with Iteung, a gorgeous female bodyguard who works for the local mafia. Alas, the course of true love never did run smooth… Fast-forward a decade. Now a truck driver, Ajo Kawir has reached a new equanimity, thinking that his penis may be trying to teach him a lesson and even consulting it in many situations as if it were his guru—love may yet triumph.
Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash shows Eka Kurniawan in a gritty, comic, pungent mode that fans of Quentin Tarantino will appreciate. But even with its liberal peppering of fights, high-speed car chases, and ladies heaving with desire, the novel continues to explore Kurniawan’s familiar themes of female agency in a violent male world dominated by petty criminals and a corrupt police state.
Annie Tucker won a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Award for her Eka Kurniawan translation.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The physicality of his prose and his story is invigorating.
— The Paris Review
Political and profound, even though it uses language drawn from pulp fiction and popular movies. Kurniawan tells a story about injustice, the limits of revenge and the redemptive power of love.
A tragicomedy Indonesian thriller... By turns a soft porn flick, a manic road thriller and a martial arts movie... A blast of a book
— Financial Times
A potent blend of grounded realism and flighty fantasy... a pulpy, visceral tale of sex, violence and comeuppance
— The Economist
Dark, sexually charged and subversive comedy...
— Claire Fallon - Huffington Post
The best action-packed crime comedy about murder for hire and male impotence you'll read this year!
— Keaton Patterson - Brazos Bookstore