Ratih Kumala: An instinctive, detailed storyteller
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Ratih Kumala: An instinctive, detailed storyteller

Out and about: Author Ratih Kumala poses for a photograph in front of the ancient Sanchi Buddhist complex in Madhya Pradesh, India, on the sidelines of the first India-ASEAN Youth Summit in mid-August. She joined the summit as an Indonesian delegate. (JP/Sebastian Partogi)

Out and about: Author Ratih Kumala poses for a photograph in front of the ancient Sanchi Buddhist complex in Madhya Pradesh, India, on the sidelines of the first India-ASEAN Youth Summit in mid-August. She joined the summit as an Indonesian delegate. (JP/Sebastian Partogi)

Source: The Jakarta Post, 16 October 2017

Pursuing a career as a writer requires a lot of energy and persistence, according to novelist-scriptwriter Ratih Kumala.

Suppose you are walking to an Indonesian restaurant with a friend. You both sit at a table before taking a glimpse at bottles of sarsaparilla and kerupuk(deep fried crackers) sitting atop it. You might not think too deeply about them.

That is not the case for novelist, short story writer and scriptwriter Ratih Kumala, who said that she had a penchant for developing stories from small, often trivialized things, such as the objects that were sitting on our table during an interview in mid-September.

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Asian Review of Books: “Cigarette Girl” by Ratih Kumala

Asian Review of Books: “Cigarette Girl” by Ratih Kumala

Cigarette Girl, Ratih Kumala, Annie Tucker (trans.) (Monsoon Books, September 2016)

Cigarette Girl, Ratih Kumala, Annie Tucker (trans.) (Monsoon Books, September 2016)

Asian Review of Books, 14 March 2017

Redolent of the ubiquitous Indonesian kreteksCigarette Girlfollows three generations of two Javanese families from the time of the Dutch surrender to the Japanese in 1942, via the crackdown on the communists and the massacres of 1965, to the present.

Written by Ratih Kumala (whose author husband Eka Kurniawan has already made a splash in English-language translation), Cigarette Girl has been fluently translated by Annie Tucker, who made the sensible decision to leave many terms in either Bahasa Indonesia, or in Javanese, most, although not all, with explanations in the text, adding a layer of linguistic richness and interest to an already interesting and absorbing novel.

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My Translators

My Translators

Lady of words, that’s what they are: Hiltrud Cordes, Annie Tucker and Soe Tjen Marching. They are my dear translators.

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