Laksmi’s third novel, “Herbstkind” (Berlin: Ullstein Verlag), will be published in August 2018. It is the sequel of “Alle Farben Rot.” https://www.ullstein-buchverlage.de/nc/buch/details/herbstkind-9783843717519.html
Buchpremiere: Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin (Berlin International Literary Festival), 10 September 2018, 7.30pm, Berlin
“The Fall Baby” (“Herbstkind”), Laksmi's latest novel (Pub Date: 10 August 2018), tells the story of two women: Srikandi and Dara, one a globetrotting visual artist, the other a political activist. Srikandi (Siri) is the illegitimate daughter of Amba and Bhisma, the protagonists of Laksmi Pamuntjak’s debut novel, “Amba/The Question of Red.” Dara is Siri’s best friend-turned foe.
After almost a lifetime of soul-searching in different cities of the world, including Madrid and London, Siri seeks to escape the difficult realities of her family history by making a new life in Berlin. Just as she is starting to find her footing in her new home, both in art and in life, unexpected family circumstances and a changing political landscape compel her to return to Jakarta—and to confront not only the wounds of her past, but also the complex realities of faith, art and politics in Indonesia: from the daily frustrations of navigating between two cultures and her multiple selves to dealing with Muslim hardliners who deem her art blasphemous.
Even though Siri finds Jakarta trying, she is surprised by the fact that she keeps prolonging her stay. She finds salvation not just through her renewed friendship with Dara, but also with the renewed mother-daughter bond she experiences with her stepdaughter Amalia. It is this relationship with her stepdaughter that brings Siri, much to her own amazement and wonder, closer to her mother Amba and their common history, and in so doing finds some semblance of closure and forgiveness.
“The Fall Baby” (“Herbstkind”) is a story of seeing and unseeing, of freedom and censorship. Of East and West, of memory and identity. Of mothers and daughters, of fathers and daughters. Of making peace with one's parents' and one's own history. And ultimately, of the most unexpected yet precious gift of all: the sisterhood of women.