People of Bloomington by Budi Darma
My first multi-cast book! I read the “Yorrick” chapter. Additional narrators: Emiko Susilo, Mark Bramhall, Chris Ciulla, Langston Darby, Sunil Malhotra, Reynaldo Piniella, and Eric Sharp!
An eerie, alienating, yet comic and profoundly sympathetic short-story collection about Americans in America by one of Indonesia’s most prominent writers, now in an English translation for its 40th anniversary, with a foreword by Intan Paramaditha.
In these seven stories of The People from Bloomington our peculiar narrators find themselves in the most peculiar of circumstances and encounter the most peculiar of people. Set in Bloomington, Indiana, where the author lived as a graduate student in the 1970s, this is far from the idyllic portrait of small-town America. Rather, sectioned into apartment units and rented rooms, and gridded by long, empty streets and distances traversable only by car, it’s a place where the solitary can all too easily remain solitary; where people can at once be obsessively curious about others, yet fail to form genuine connections with anyone. The characters feel their loneliness acutely and yet deliberately estrange others. Budi Darma paints a realist world portrayed through an absurdist frame, morbid and funny at the same time.
Produced by Penguin Random House
Listen to a sample from the “Yorrick” chapter: