Author: Nicola Hunter
Publisher: Harper Collins (Authonomy)
Published: September 26, 2013
Vic is a red headed Aussie who goes to Jakarta, Indonesia to spend a few weeks teaching English as a foreign language. She has little tolerance for the hypocrisy of most cultures and is unmarried at the age of 39. She meets Fajar, a hot headed, much younger local who rides an ojek. Against all odds and social convention, the two form an attachment, and Vic is caught in a love triangle with Fajar’s naive ex, who has never really forgotten about him.
The story switches between three characters: Vic, Fajar, and Aryanti. The writing is really good, and the voices are true to the characters. The author paints really good pictures too; I was in Jakarta, swiping at the exhaust fumes and watching the sun set in the dirt-colored sky. I also had a very clear idea whom the characters were through their narratives. In this debut novella, Nicola Hunter highlights the issues of culture, racial and gender discrimination, hypocrisy and the effects of ignorance and complacency on a people.
Although it’s far from an erotic novel, the language is a little strong in the middle. Overall, it’s an enjoyable read.
To lovers of literary fiction or social commentary.