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Indonesia Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation
Pisani first came to Indonesia as a journalist and later as an epidemiologist specializing in HIV, living there at various times during a 25-year period. Charmed by Indonesia’s idiosyncrasies, contradictions, enigmas, disappointments, and seductions, she garnered the impression that the nation is “one giant Bad Boyfriend.” Indonesia is a string of more than 13,000 islands inhabited by people of more than 360 ethnic groups who speak more than 700 languages—a cobbling together of peoples and cultures that is a result of colonization by the Dutch and occupation by the Japanese. Pisani (The Wisdom of Whores, 2008) spent a year randomly traveling 26,000 miles around the archipelago, visiting the capital, Jakarta, as well as jungles and small villages to talk to farmers, politicians, priests, fishermen, teachers, soldiers, nurses, and others to capture the heart and soul of Indonesia. She encountered child brides, witnessed young men jousting with javelins, sipped tea at a funeral, and spotted satellite dishes on the grass roofs of bamboo huts. An intimate, fascinating look at the world’s fourth most populous nation, one working to define itself in a modernizing world. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Exuberant and wise… Pisani is an exceptionally resourceful observer of the ongoing battle to define Indonesia.” (Pankj Mishra - The New Yorker)
“Beautifully written, richly entertaining.” (The Economist)
“A rollicking good adventure… To read Indonesia Etc. is to grow rather fond of both author and country.” (Pallavi Aiyar - Los Angeles Review of Books)
“For anyone about to visit the place, [Elizabeth Pisani’s] book is an essential companion.” (Misha Glenny - Guardian)
“Intrepid and passionate… Profound, lasting, a masterpiece of its genre―and so much fun!” (Amy Wilentz, author of The Rainy Season and Farewell, Fred Voodoo)