Evocative and alluring , Namrata reviews Laksmi Pamuntjak’s Fall Baby (Published by Penguin SEA, 2019)

Somewhere in mid-flight, it occurs to me that I’m still at home and without a home; its just that now there are two homes instead of one and that must count for something.

With lines akin to poetry, Pamuntjak’s latest novel Fall Baby is a compelling read. Interestingly, one of the main protagonists of this novel, Siri, is the illegitimate daughter of Amba and Bhisma, the protagonists of Laksmi Pamuntjak’s award winning first novel, Amba/ The Question of Red.

Laksmi Pamuntjak is a bilingual Indonesian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist and food critic. Her debut novel Amba/The Question of Red won many awards and has been translated into several languages followed by her second novel, The Birdwoman’s Palate which was adapted into a movie.  She writes across genres dabbling in a poetry collection, a food guide, collection of short stories on painting and a treatise on violence and the Iliad.  Pamuntjak also writes opinion and features articles for various Indonesian publications.

Set in Berlin and Jakarta, Fall Baby tells the story of two women, Srikandi (Siri) and Dara, Siri’s best friend-turned foe. Siri is seeking to create a new life in Berlin, as she struggles to accept her past and move on. This unexpected change has brought in a lot of newer meanings for her along and has redefined life. Siri suddenly finds her understanding of family, motherhood, friendship and relationships challenged here. While on the other hand, she also struggles to accept the harsh realities surrounding her profession as a visual artist which involves art, religion, politics and history.

Read the full review on Kitaab.