The '''''Buru Quartet''''' (Indonesian: ''Tetralogi Buru'') are a four-part epic by Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Originally [[CouldntFindAPen dictated to his fellow prisoners]] during his term in the political prison island of Buru, Toer labored to ensure its survival and eventually managed to have the publishing house Bintang Timur put forth the first book, ''This Earth of Mankind'' (Indonesian: ''Bumi Manusia'') in 1980, only to have the ruling New Order [[CulturePolice ban it from circulation]] shortly afterwards for "[[RedScare Marxist-Leninist subversion]]". Subsequent books, ''Child of all Nations'' (Indonesian: ''Anak Semua Bangsa'', 1981), ''Footsteps'' (Indonesian: ''Jejak Langkah'', 1985) and ''House of Glass'' (Indonesian: ''Rumah Kaca'', 1988) similarly met swift banning, threatening to prematurely rid the Indonesian language of what would become perhaps one of its most well-known works. Fortunately however, [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff foreign publishers]] [[TrueArtIsForeign were quick to take notice:]] Australian Embassy staff Max Lane worked on an English translation, and soon enough, the series gained more relative fame in a myriad of foreign lands than most of its local counterparts could have imagined. Long story short, awards poured in through Toer's metaphorical doorstep, regional PEN societies took the writer as their own, and somewhat recently, the series finally began to regain its place in the Indonesian public consciousness.

The story itself begins in colonial East Java, as the nineteenth century draws to an end. Minke, the main character, is a teenage son of a wealthy Javanese aristocracy and a successful HBS student, a rare feat among natives. Minke grows up in awe of [[WhiteMansBurden European might]], fostering [[ForeignCultureFetish an appreciation]] for [[{{Bookworm}} Dutch literature]] and spending his spare time [[MostWritersAreWriters writing for a Dutch-language newspaper]] under the pseudonym "Max Tollenaar". All seems well enough until he runs into Nyai Ontosoroh, the [[InNameOnly nominal]] concubine of wealthy Dutch businessman [[TheAlcoholic Herman Mellema]] who in reality runs his entire company together with their beautiful [[RaceFetish Indo]] daughter Annelies while her elder son [[LoserSonOfLoserDad Robert]] looks upon his presence with great suspicion. Soon enough, Minke's previously innocuous life ends up in a tangled web of romance, rejection and race politics, setting him on a journey of self-discovery between differing cultural realms.

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!This series provides examples of:

* AsianBabymama: To some extent. Throughout ''This Earth of Mankind'', Minke's neighbor, French ex-soldier Jean Marais works on a painting of a Dutch colonial soldier standing over a helpless Acehnese moment with bayonet fixed. [[spoiler:The painting, in fact, is of himself and the mother of his Indo daughter May, who supposedly asked him to kill her to [[DefiledForever preserve her purity]] and was later killed by her own brother for their affair.]]
* {{Badass}}: Darsam, the family retainer. A Madurese warrior ready to cut down anyone threatening the Nyai, Annelies or Minke.
** [[spoiler:Prinses von Kasiruta]] who can use a gun and isn't afraid to use it. Minke speculates that her father might have had plans for rebellion, hence his family's exile.
* BlackAndGrayMorality
* BrokenPedestal: Nyai Ontosoroh lost all respect for Herman Mellema after his biological son confronted him and his subsequent falling apart.
* [[spoiler:BrotherSisterIncest]]: Well, [[RapeAsDrama not voluntarily]], but still.
* [[spoiler:BusCrash: After being taken away, Annelies lost her will to live and died in the Netherlands shortly after arriving.]]
* CategoryTraitor:
** Minke's family, especially [[MommasBoy his mother]], repeatedly chastise him for being indifferent toward Javanese traditions and insisting on writing in Dutch instead of Javanese.
** His Dutch Literature teacher Magda Peters, meanwhile, is mocked for her liberal beliefs regarding the natives of Dutch East Indies and eventually [[spoiler:pressured by the colonial government to leave.]]
** Khouw Ah Soe, the Chinese nationalist, who rejected his old customs and tried to wake his people from their backwardness. [[spoiler:He was killed by the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Tongs]] for his radical ideas.]]
* CharacterDevelopment: When Jean Marais suggested Minke to start writing in Malay, the ''lingua franca'' of the majority of the population, he flatly refused and even felt offended, preferring to write in Dutch. A few years later [[spoiler:he started publishing a Malay-language newspaper, the ''Medan Prijaji''.]]
* CharacterFilibuster: When Minke met Ter Haar for the first time on the ship to Betawi, the latter launched a 40-page rant about colonial politics, and many other things. [[spoiler:Minke was later apprehended at Semarang and shipped back to Wonokromo because of another trial.]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: At the climax of the second book, [[spoiler:Mauritz Mellema, the decorated Boer war hero, came to kick our heroes out of Wonokromo. But our heroes gave such a verbal beating on him for leaving his half-sister to die that all he can do is sulk away in shame]]. [[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu He still kicked them out in the end,]] but they made sure they didn't go quietly.
* {{Doorstopper}}
* DownerEnding: The first book.
* EmbarrassingNickname: Minke's name originated from a Dutch teacher's LastSecondWordSwap on [[CurseCutShort a racist insult]] (monkey).
* ForeignCultureFetish: At the start of the story Minke is completely enamored by European culture and progress, to the point of rejecting his own culture and language. His experiences in the first two books made him realize the reality of European colonial rule and the suffering it caused to the native population, tampering his enthusiasm considerably.
* TheGayNineties[=/=]TheEdwardianEra
* GradeSchoolCEO: After her father's [[SanitySlippage descent into the slippery slope]], Nyai Ontosoroh pulled Annelies out of school to help run his company, [[WiseBeyondTheirYears postponing her own childhood]] until their encounter with Minke.
* HeelRealization: Jean Marais, at Aceh.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: A number of important Indonesian historical figures are mentioned and featured, using false names:
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Douwes_Dekker Ernest Douwes Dekker]], first mentioned as the boyfriend of Miriam de la Croix. Later shows up as [[spoiler:Douwager]].
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kartini Kartini]], only known in story as [[spoiler:"the girl from Jepara"]].
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ki_Hajar_Dewantara Ki Hajar Dewantara]] is [[spoiler:Wardi]].
** Minke himself was a real person, [[spoiler:Tirto Adhi Soerjo, an Indonesian journalism pioneer.]]
* IronLady: Nyai Ontosoroh.
* {{Jerkass}} / JerkJock: Robert Suurhof.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: Minke was apparently compelled to document the story during [[spoiler:his wedding with Annelies]], which is [[MostWritersAreWriters quite understandable]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* ManChild: Annelies acts like this in front of her mother and Minke.
* TheMistress: During colonial times, "Nyai" is a title for an Indonesian mistress of a European man. The common perception during the time is that a Nyai is [[TheVamp promiscuous and uneducated]], but Nyai Ontosoroh is a subversion of this trope, to Minke's astonishment.
* MostWritersAreWriters: Pramoedya Ananta Toer's own sentiments regarding the state of literary appreciation in Indonesia is blatantly obvious throughout, as evidenced by Minke's inexplicable intention to work as a writer instead of a government official.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Nyai Ontosoroh, AKA Nyai Buitenzorg, after Buitenzorg Boerderij, Herman Mellema's company. Her real name is later revealed to be Sanikem. Minke also counts.
* PoorCommunicationKills: [[spoiler:Jan Tantang, the fat officer who has been stalking Minke in the first two books]]. The whole mess with Ah Tjong and the trial wouldn't have happened if he hadn't stalked Minke around and instead just went up and introduced himself.
* RaceFetish
* RomanAClef
* SanitySlippage: Herman Mellema started out as a caring master and patient teacher to his [[ValuesDissonance teenage mistress]] Sanikem, gaining her respect over her own power-hungry parents, only to [[spoiler:descend into the slope soon after his legitimate Dutch son, a renowned engineer, [[CallingTheOldManOut confronts him]] for running off and starting a new life with a native woman. By the events of ''This Earth of Mankind'', he has grown [[AngryWhiteMan rather]] [[AlcoholicParent distant]].]]
** [[spoiler:Pangemanann]] was once an upstanding police officer, but after stamping out remnants of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Si_Pitung Si Pitung]]'s band of outlaws and realizing what the colonial government had done to the villagers, hallucinations of Pitung began to show up as his guilty conscience. He drives these visions away with his trademark sigh: [[spoiler:''Zihhh!'']]
* ShellShockedVeteran: Minke's Indo landlord Telinga and Jean Marais fought together for the colonial government in Aceh prior to the events of the story. It was a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aceh_War very bloody]] conflict, and neither liked to talk about it.
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler:Surati did this to Plikemboh, by infecting herself with chickenpox and then giving herself up to him. It worked, but ironically she survived, albeit with scars from the illness.]]
* TragicKeepsake: The old, beat-up suitcase, accompanying three different characters on a journey they might not return from.
** Nyai when [[spoiler:she was sold to Herman Mellema.]]
** Ann when [[spoiler:she was taken against her will to the Netherlands.]]
** Minke when [[spoiler:he was exiled to Ambon.]]
* TranslationConvention: Even though various languages are spoken in the novel, everything is translated for the benefit of the reader. The weird thing is, the Indonesian language didn't even ''exist'' at this point in time.
* VillainEpisode: The fourth book is told from the perspective of [[spoiler:Pangemanann, the police officer later government adviser responsible of exiling Minke and later other key national figures.]]
* WeddingDay: Minke and Annelies' wedding, also counts as a BreatherEpisode.
* WhiteMansBurden: Sarah and Miriam de la Croix grew up with this belief and are quite eager to act as Minke's mentors.
* YellowPeril: Babah Ah Tjong, the owner of the pleasure house next to the Wonokromo mansion. Khouw Ah Soe might be viewed as this in-universe, but he's actually a sympathetic character from our point of view.