The Mysterious Marksman
- About the Book
Between 1983–1985, a series of extrajudicial executions of criminals took place throughout Indonesia in which bodies, many of which had tattoos, were found shot and left in public places. The killings, which became known as petrus, an acronym for penembak misterius (mysterious marksman) and were later admitted to be a government effort to control crime, terrified the unsuspecting public. Three of the stories in this collection are related to this confusing and fearful time. All of the stories deal with despair—sometimes tender, sometimes absurd, sometimes grotesque. Seno Gumira Ajidarma is a master storyteller who can capture a sentiment and turn it into events that unfold as comedy or heartbreaking tragedy, each revealing a desperate struggle to deal with memories and change.
- Having published more than 30 books since the 1980s, Seno Gumira Ajidarma is one of Indonesia’s most prolific authors. As a novelist, essayist, and short story writer, Seno’s work often both document everyday life and criticize contemporary social, cultural, and political conditions. His writing style is varied, ranging from reportage and realism to fantasy. Once asked whether his work is surrealism, magical realism, fantasy or postmodern journalism, he answered simply, “Call it whatever you want. It’s what I do.” In 2014, along with various journalists and communications professionals, he launched a blog called PanaJournal that featured human interest stories.