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Fall Baby


Publication Date:

Penguin Random House SEA


Fall Baby


Fall Baby tells the story of two women—Srikandi (Siri) and Dara, one a globetrotting visual artist, the other a human right’s activist. Siri is the illegitimate daughter of Amba and Bhisma, the protagonists of Laksmi Pamuntjak’s award-winning first novel, Amba/The Question of Red (Winner of Germany’s LiBeraturpreis 2016, translated into several languages).  Dara is Siri’s former best friend.

After living in numerous art capitals of the world—London, Madrid, New York—Siri decides to settle in Berlin, where she hopes to evade her dark past and be spiritually closer to the history of her two late fathers. Just when she has begun to rearrange her life as an international visual artist in artistically vibrant Berlin, an unexpected news summons her back to Jakarta.

There, not only does she have to confront her relationship with her mother, Amba; her former best friend, Dara; and her stepdaughter, Amalia and give new meaning to each relationship; she also has to navigate the complex interweaving of art, religion, politics and history.

Fall Baby is not just about the intricacies of art, religion, politics and history in a troubled Indonesia, but also about family, identity, motherhood, and the sisterhood of women.

In 2020, Fall Baby won the Singapore Book Award for Best Literary Work.

Praise for

Fall Baby

‘More than a novel, Fall Baby is a sensual song of longing, loss and hope.’ —David van Reybrouck, author of Revolusi, Against Elections, Congo, one of the most influential young European intellectuals working today

Fall Baby is a moving, intriguing novel about the wandering soul of a female artist, the lost soul of friendship and family, the broken soul of home and the painful process of reconciliation with one’s own traumatic past and present. It is a candid and beautiful book about personal change that has the power to change anyone reading it.’ —Alés Steger, author of Neverland, Kasmir, Berlin, Absolution, The Book of Things 

‘A beautiful, wise, elegiac novel steeped in the colours, characters and politics of a troubled Indonesia . . . Pamuntjak has emerged as one of Indonesia’s best known writers both at home and abroad and she introduces us to a culture and political history of which many of us know very little. This is a deeply moving book on her hugely complex but fascinating country, written in sparkling, precise prose and with luminous insights into the intricate web of art, politics, religion and history.’ —Ahmed Rashid, author of Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of Pakistan, America and Afghanistan, Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia, Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan and Beyond, contributor for the New York Review of Books

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