by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Hardo is on the run from the Japanese who are occupying his home country, Indonesia. His revolt against their occupation ended in defeat unexpectedly, and after hiding for months in a cave, he longs to go home. He tries to travel back undetected, and the story describes the betrayal, disappointment and problems he encounters in the process. The novel is structured like a “wayang” (traditional shadow play), where the first couple of acts are usually slow, but then the drama speeds up right up at the end, ending with a rather violent denouement. It is the story of the colonial experience of southeast Asia.