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Long IslandObituaries

Christopher Koch, 'Living Dangerously' author, dies

Christopher Koch, an Australian author whose 1978 novel "The Year of Living Dangerously" was the basis of the atmospheric, award-winning film about intrigue in Indonesia, died Sept. 23 in Hobart, Tasmania. He was 81.

He had cancer, according to Australian news reports.

Koch published two novels and worked in radio before embarking on "The Year of Living Dangerously."

The novel, which takes place during a political uprising in Indonesia in 1965, was well received when it was published. But it captured international attention only after it was made into a film by Australian director Peter Weir in 1982.

The memorable title, first uttered by Indonesian leader Sukarno in the 1960s, became a catchphrase denoting any prolonged period of danger, intrigue or personal risk.

The book and film trace the experiences of Guy Hamilton, an Australian foreign correspondent (played on screen by Mel Gibson), as he tries to understand the forces at work in Indonesia when a rebellion threatens to remove Sukarno from power. Hamilton's character was drawn from the experiences of Koch's brother, Philip Koch, a foreign correspondent based in Jakarta in the 1960s.

Hamilton has a romance with a woman working for the British military (played in the movie by Sigourney Weaver) and is guided through the intricacies of the local culture by a Chinese-Australian television cameraman, played by the 4-foot-9 American actress Linda Hunt.


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