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The Dark Cracks of Kemang

“That old childhood saying ‘pick what you want from the tree of life’ simply not working anymore? Becoming a foreigner in Indonesia might be as good a stab at something new and rewarding, as anything…”

Armed with a teaching contract, some poems, and a guitar-playing buddy, Roberts discovers a potentially life-changing experience in 2013. And so the Bajaj Boys make themselves at home.

Indonesia is revealed as a challenging but welcoming land of ‘instant millionaires’, ‘beautiful rubbish’, abundant romance, powerful religion, and unnerving history.

Nasi goreng, alcohol, cigarettes, bajajs, motorbikes, a gentlemen’s club, poetry gigs, wild animals, and electrical storms weave together, as the dark cracks of Kemang open.

ISBN 9781922830050 (PB, 354pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $30 USD $24 CAD $28 NZD $33 GBP £18 EUR €20
ISBN 9781922830067 (eBook) AUD $15 USD $10 CAD $12 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10


Watch the Book Trailer



A chronicle of interactions with expats and locals, interspersed with impressions of Indonesia, Roberts excels in short, sharp, observational verse. Ripe stuff indeed. You might find yourself simultaneously amused and repulsed. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at gatherings of expats, this is your chance.

– Kenneth Yeung, Indonesia Expat

In 2013, poet Jeremy Roberts did something few of us have the guts to do: he looked at his Auckland life, decided he’d supported his musician daughter on enough gigs, and dared himself to squeeze in some adventure in the third quarter of his life.

Age 53, Roberts agreed to spend a year teaching at NZ International School in Jakarta, a city of 10 million in a nation of 271 million. The move was pretty ballsy. In fact, The Dark Cracks of Kemang, published nearly ten years after his adventure began, is entirely a meditation about finding the beautiful exhilaration of daring oneself to live more adventurously. Why’d he do it, and why’d he write the memoir? Because Roberts is obsessed with rock ‘n roll. It’s his religion.

Roberts is today settled in Napier, running Napier Live Poets, various page projects, and regularly interviewing poets on Radio Hawke’s Bay. To stand up in the literary landscape, though, required a Hero’s Journey. Roberts found that to get the guts and the experience to become a poetry leader instead of a poetry follower required going all the way to a strange country, thrusting himself upon unfamiliar stages in an unfamiliar culture for countless gigs, and trusting a colourful Manchester socialist to be his on-stage companion, playing guitar while Roberts waxed poetry.

The name of the poetry duo Roberts created in Jakarta was The Bajaj Boys – named for the three wheeled tuk tuk taxis which thousands of expatriate international teachers like Roberts relied upon to get around a city so humid that Roberts’ leather jacket turned mouldy in the cupboard.

In the spirit of wild writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith and Sam Hunt – all of whom get discussed in the book (remember, rock is Roberts’ religion), The Dark Cracks of Kemang flits between English and Bahasa Indonesia and back again.

Just a couple of pages in, we get a description of the bum-washing hand-held bidet device known as ‘semprotan air’; then again, the book covers Indonesian food, language, clothing, customs, corruption, religion, attitudes – as well as taking an objective look at the attitudes of Roberts’ peer Western teachers, for better and worse (one teacher mourns the vibrators which Customs confiscated at the airport).

Each page is wide-eyed with fascination at the colourful country of 17,000 islands. You’ll find yourself engrossed in a first person personal poem about Indonesian culture before the camera lens zooms out and discusses what life is like for an expatriate classroom teacher, before Roberts veers back to his student days at Auckland Uni, to discussions of tropical storms, monkeys, and a tonne of cultural discussion told without any pejorative Western condescension. It’s pure fascination – Roberts is as impressed or unimpressed with Jakarta as he is Auckland, Napier or California (where – at the same time as Roberts is finding his inner rockstar, his famous daughter Eden Iris is doing the same in Los Angeles).

Want a book which takes you on a three-wheel motorised rikshaw tour through a huge segment of the world’s population whom Kiwis hardly ever interact with? And would you like your book to discuss Ozzy, The Stooges, the Smiths, sweaty palms, c-dizzle, sex, death, and explain the Bahasa Indonesian word for ‘boring’ all on page 138?

Read The Dark Cracks of Kemang and think about doing something exciting with your life, even if you’re 53 like Roberts. Write about it in steamy, sensual poetry. Record it and publish it on Soundcloud and YouTube – just like Jeremy Roberts has done.

Michael Botur, Award-winning New Zealand author

This collection of saucy tales and its contributing cast of misfits pulls back the curtain on the expat dream. A fascinating odyssey that titillated both the adventurous and depraved parts of me. I loved every second of it.

– Darren Shrek, JGC Hall of Fame

Zero Hour Cov

Zero Hour: A Countdown to the Collapse Of South Africa’s Apartheid System

This enlightening book focuses on the history of how the ethnic groups of Africa, eventually joined by white colonizers from Europe, created the seedbed for the hateful apartheid system in Southern Africa. The reader learns how apartheid began, the dehumanizing effects it had on the black population, and how it was finally abolished in its ‘zero hour’ in 1994. Written by historian, writer and researcher Geoffrey Hebdon, this is the second in a series that covers the experience of a British citizen who emigrated to South Africa during that era, and records in vivid detail his responses to the apartheid system and how South Africa and neighbouring countries evolved after apartheid was abolished.

As well as the first European settlers and the white Afrikaners’ attempted enslavement of the black population, the book also covers the Zulu wars, the Anglo-Boer wars and individuals who supported apartheid such as Cecil Rhodes and the whites-only National Party of South Africa. Also covered are prominent leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) and the black revolutionaries who fought against apartheid, many of whom gave their lives or served life sentences for their “struggle”, including Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president after serving years in prison.

ISBN 9781922332981 (HB, 820pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $170 USD $120 CAD $130 NZD $187 GBP £96 EUR €155
ISBN 9781922332998 (PB, 820pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $140 USD $98 CAD $130 NZD $105 GBP £78 EUR €92
ISBN 9781922830043 (eBook) AUD $36 USD $25 CAD $30 NZD $39 GBP £21 EUR €24



Speaking in Tongues

Basil Eliades may have travelled this world, but he has seen other worlds within it. In his travel fiction, we see worlds of profound love, of incredible cities, inhabited by shamans, gods, where physics becomes elastic, where time travels uphill and humans are re-formed.

You will want to go where this man has been.

ISBN 97819215231403 (PB, 200pp);
140mm x 216mm
AUD $30 USD $24 NZD $33 GBP £17 EUR €20
ISBN 97819215231410 (eBook) AUD $15 USD $10 NZD $17 GBP £8 EUR €9


‘I enjoyed this so much – this man writes beautifully.’
– Phillip Adams

‘Literary, beautifully written, meticulously plotted and inventively surprising.’
– Kerry Greenwood
‘A little frightening, sometimes immensely funny, and consistently beautiful writing; these wonderful, sensual tales of love, union, desire and transformation throw open the notion of travel and what it means to come alive in a strange landscape.’ 
– Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader