Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s transcendent novels have become part of the world literary canon, but it is his short fiction that originally made him famous. The first full-size collection of his short stories to appear in English, All That Is Gone draws from the author’s own experiences in Indonesia to depict characters trying to make sense of a war-torn culture haunted by colonialism, among them an eight-year-old girl soon to be married off by her parents for money and an idealistic young soldier who witnesses the savage beating of a man accused of being a spy. Though violence and brutality pervade these tales, there is present throughout a profound sense of compassion—an extraordinary combination of despair and hope that gives All That Is Gone rare power and beauty.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, born on the island of Java in 1925, was imprisoned first by the Dutch, then by the Indonesian government as a political prisoner. He received the PEN Freedom to Write Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award.