Man Tiger (2015) book review

“Bukan aku yang melakukannya,” ia berkata dan melanjutkan,
“Ada harimau di dalam tubuhku.”

“It wasn’t me who killed him,” he said and then continued,
“There was a tiger in me.” -rough English translation

So yeah, I finished Man Tiger (original title in Indonesian: Lelaki Harimau), a psychological crime-mystery-thriller novel by Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan on my lazy two days this weekend. I was thinking to write a short review, in hope more people will come to read this book and Eka will be happy (and gets lots of money 😀 ) and be more encouraged to write another  :))

English version of Man Tiger

Man Tiger tells a freaking eerie tragedy. A murder (and a very cruel one, Eka described it explicitly in a way that make me went eww), where the murderer and the victim are both revealed in the first line of the book. So the rest of the book tells the series of events, including the backgrounds and the pasts of the two main families related to the murder. It felt more like a family saga folktale to me since as an Indonesian I am somehow familiar with the setting and able to relate a lot with the situation described. Eka cleverly and interestingly revealed the main reason of the murder only in the last few lines, and that was what mesmerised me and made me couldn’t move on from the story even until when I wrote this post. One interesting thing I found about this book is that all the main characters in the story are flawed, I can’t seem to love a single character from the book, not even the main character, and it’s interesting in its own way.

This book is also nominated for the Man Booker International Prize competing with other remarkable authors like Orhan Pamuk and Kenzaburo Oe. I really hope Man Tiger could win :’) And for everyone that hasn’t ever read Indonesian literature, I think you could start by reading Man Tiger, I promise you won’t waste your time :’)

Since I am staying in Japan, I couldn’t buy the book and in Amazon Japan they only have its English translation. I don’t want to read this, or any other Indonesian books, in another language since I LOVE diction in Indonesian literatures. Diction here refers to a writer’s distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a poem or story. I read several (if not many) literatures from different countries, from English literature (including writer from England, America or other English-speaking countries) to Japanese or even African literature (well, the English translation, lol) and I still think Indonesian literature is the best (yay!). I will write about Indonesian literatures in different post later :))

SO, I digged deep into google trying to find its ebook version and found a pathetic, illegal scan of the original Lelaki Harimau. With its most terrifying cover among all of its versions.

It’s so scary but addictive I can’t get enough looking at this lol.

So I read this on my Ipad. I PROMISE I AM GONNA BUY A COPY WHEN I AM IN INDONESIA OKAY SO PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME >< Lol. At first I actually wanted to read Eka’s another book titled Beauty is a Wound (original title: Cantik itu Luka), it even has the Japanese translation (美は傷). But I couldn’t buy the Indonesian version in Japan (and I didn’t find its pathetic illegally-scan) so I read Man Tiger first.

You can buy the English version of Lelaki Harimau in Amazon. Thanks for reading! (^^)


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