This paper focuses on the ways in which watershed events in Indonesian national history are illuminated in a work of fiction, and how a Javanese worldview gives rise to particular, localized understandings of the events. The work of fiction is Sitok Srengenge's first novel, Menggarami burung terbang (Seasoning the flying bird), the action of which is bracketed by the years 1948 and 1965. The protagonists of the novel are unassuming village folk who are bewildered at the political events and mass brutality that overtake them, and whose understanding of the world is filtered through natural omens. Such a worldview is described by Quinn (1992:124) as a 'teleological' view of phenomena, in other words a belief that everything that exists and happens - including natural omens - does so for a final purpose, that there is a reason for everything.

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