At the time of the construction of Borobudur in the ninth century, Buddhism had been established in Java for several centuries. Mackenzie's Borobudur, an exquisite long poem, tells the story of its legendary architect, Gunavarman, and of Indonesia's mystical monument with cultural understanding, sensitivity and great feeling. Like Gunavarman, by the poem's end Mackenzie becomes a dot on the horizon', leaving us stilled in silence.Like turning a wonderfully textured and beautifully glazed vessel around and around, the chronology of Jennifer Mackenzie's Borobudur, is progressed while eluding linearity. Her legend of Gunavarman, Javanese Buddhism's almost mythical priest-architect, reminds one of Hesse's Siddhartha with the parallel reality she creates for the book's protagonists. Borobudur is a memorable invention, utterly present as it succours both history and imagination. The poem's tropical atmospheres and correspondingly spiced language, the sumptuous detail and layers of story girdle the poem as it, in its marvellous stead, encircles the monument which time almost forgot.'Kris Hemensley.Borobudur has been assisted by the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Jennifer Mackenziewill be a guest of the 2009 Ubud Writers' Festivalshow more