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Drought, a translation of Iwan Simatupang’s novel, Kering (1972), is a joyous celebration of life and human commitment. Its hero is an ex-student, ex-soldier, and ex-bandit, who decides to transmigrate to one of the outer islands of Indonesia to restart life as a farmer. His near failure brings him into contact with a wonderful range of inspired madmen—bureaucrats, bandits, psychiatrists, religious teachers, and the beautiful woman known simply as the V.I.P. Combined, these characters bring into question the normalcy of conventional society. Drought shows Simatupang writing at the height of his powers and is a lyrical testimony to the strength—and the unpredictability—of the human character.

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