Aruna dan Lidahnya

"Prologue': Aruna and Her Palate," appears in the Autumn 2015 issue of Asia Literary Review. It is the prologue to the English translation of Laksmi's second novel, Aruna dan Lidahnya (2014), an Indonesian national bestseller, now in its 3rd edition: an experimental prologue in a single sentence that stretches to 2,700 words. The PDF is downloadable, please click the button below.
For press reviews click here


Aruna is in her mid-30s and happily and proudly single. She is an epidemiologist but her real passion is eating. She thinks and obsesses about food 24/7. When she is dispatched to investigate curious cases of Avian Flu in eight cities in the Indonesian archipelago, she brings along her two best friends, the quirky, US-trained chef Bono, and the impossibly chic food and travel writer Nadezhda to eat along with her. Insights on food, local history, religion and Indonesian politics merge as they find out more than what they bargained for in cities as diverse as Surabaya, Bangkalan and Pamesan (Madura), Palembang, Medan, Banda Aceh, Pontianak, Singkawang and Mataram. 

Title: Aruna and Her Palate, Author: Laksmi Pamuntjak, Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Publication Date: November 2014, No of Pages: 426

Praise for "Aruna dan Lidahnya":

  • Who better to write a book about a culinary tour through Indonesia than Laksmi, whose passion and knowledge of the local cuisine is unsurpassed. I still remember when she took us around Jakarta on a local food tour 18 years ago. This book brings me back to the street satays and sit down feasts we experienced together

    - Jean-Georges Vongerichten

  • ... Dengan diksi yang kaya... dan hanya dengan kemampuan Laksmi yang begitu telaten mengolah kata-kata layaknya seorang chef, novel ini tidak terjebak menjadi pop maupun terlalu tinggi untuk dikunyah pembaca medioker sekaligus...

    - Dewi Ria Utari, Editor in Chief, Saraswati (edisi Januari 2005)

  • Banyak pembaca urban usia 30-an akan dengan mudah bilang "Ini gue banget" setelah membaca novel Aruna dan Lidahnya. Banyak hal yang dengan mudah membuat saya mengidentifikasi diri dengan novel ini. Terutama ketika kuliner sudah menjadi urban lifestyle.

    - Dewi Ria Utari, Journalist, @writingria

  • Tantalizing ... harmonious ... exhilarating

    - Kompas, 2015

  • When history and climate change threaten to overpower us we need books like Laksmi Pamuntjak’s The Birdwoman's Palate to remind us that it is through love, friendship, culture, and sharing the good things nature has to offer we will find solace and the solutions for moving forward. It is a well-told, affecting tale that brings us closer, over time and space, in the hour of need.

    - Sjon, author of Moonstone: The Boy who Never Was

  • ... redolent, peppery, silky come to mind. Running through the novel's riot of textures, smells, tastes, is the closeness of disease and death, with lust, self-discovery and love. The novel has an aura of a dream, too, a little shimmery - it's in the idiom of 21st-century text speak, and yet, as I was reading, I thought of Dutch still lives, with their artfully perfect fruit, flowers, fish and meat, reminding us of mortality and decay amidst beauty. The Birdwoman’s Palate for me is an incitement to take time to savor the present from the endless protocols that mask and organize human frailty.

    - Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Literature, Culture and Civilization, Stanford University

A beautifully-written novel: humane, humble, passionate, and ripe with culinary interactions ... a fitting tribute from the author of Indonesia's first independent good food guide

- William Wongso, Indonesian culinary guru

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