In August 2015, "Alle Farben Rot," the German translation of "Amba/The Question of Red," was named No 1 on the prestigious Weltemfraenger (Receivers of the World) list of the best works of fiction translated into German from countries outside Germany. The list is published twice a year and its panel of jury comprises respected German authors and literary critics such as Ilija Trojanow, Cornelia Zetzsche and Katharina Borchardt. Cornelia Zetzsche says of "Alle Farben Rot": "Der wichtigste Roman im indonesischen Herbst."
Alle Farben Rot, the German translation of Laksmi Pamuntjak's best-selling novel Amba/The Question of Red (transl. by Dr Martina Heinschke), which is on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's list of 8 Most Important Novels of the Frankfurt Book Fair '15, the De Bild's Top 10 Books of the Frankfurt Book Fair '15, number one on the Weltempfaenger List for best work of fiction translated into German from outside Germany, and on the Austrian and German Bestenliste, a "Best Books" list judged by German literary critics and journalists, 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 Ambaa 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 dictatorship.
Praise for "Alle Farben Rot":
The novel combines poetic language and the determination to use literature as an instrument of enlightenment without ever denying the aesthetics.
- Neue Zuercher Zeitung
(Amba/Alle Farben Rot) is an absolute must-read; ... it holds so many important lessons about Indonesia.
- Die Zeit
It takes a while to discover what is what in this novel. And this perfectly captures the dizzying unsteadiness of a traumatized world poised between normalcy and catastrophe.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Top 8 Books of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015
The most important Indonesian novel of this winter...
- Cornelia Zetzsche, Weltempfaenger 2015 jury member.
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