Amba of de Kleur van Rood

The translation ‘Amba of de Kleur van Rood’ is a heart-breaking love story set against the backdrop of violence and traditions. Laksmi Pamuntjak masterfully weaves an intricate web of stories that touch on the darkest and bloodiest chapter in Indonesia’s history, one that is controversial to this very day. It is more than just a love story, more than a historical novel, it is a reflection of what Indonesia is today – a muslim majority nation with modern, western and Hindu influences.


Amba of De Kleur van Rood tells the story of two lovers, Amba and Bhisma, who were driven apart by one of the bloodiest communist purges in the 20th century—the massacre of up to one million accused Communists in Indonesia between 1965 and 1968. The novel was published in Indonesian in October 2012 under the title Amba and is a national bestseller. In the novel, the lives of the central characters reinterpret the Mahabharata—that timeless allegory of war within a family—and move from rural Java to Europe and to the prison camps of Buru Island, where approximately 12,000 alleged communists were incarcerated without trial during the Suharto administration. 

Praise for "Amba of de Kleur van Rood":

  • Great literature lights our way and helps us to understand distant worlds; the best books make us part of those worlds - with all their horror, as well as their resplendence and intelligence. That's the kind of literature that Laksmi Pamuntjak writes.

    - Jose Eduardo Agualusa