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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