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People from Bloomington

2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

Indonesian author Budi Darma’s short story collection People from Bloomington casts a startlingly novel light on a landscape we had thought familiar: United States of the 1970s. On this canvas are projected stories melding the painfully ordinary with the decidedly odd, in which exoticism is trumped by the appeal to the common strangeness of human experience. Sitting in often absurdist territory between Sherwood Anderson and John Cheever, the arrival of this work in English enriches world literature.    

With this book, translator Tiffany Tsao once again brings an important voice of modern Indonesian writing to a global audience, at a moment when Budi Darma’s themes of creating connection and finding identity could not be more apt. Deploying the same relaxed but elegant tone that mark her own fiction, Tsao’s choices are unfailingly deft, endowing Budi Darma’s slightly askew Bloomingtonians with a credible and compelling Middle American linguistic environment.