Sitti Nurbaya: Kasih Tak Sampai

Book / Novel

Sitti Nurbaya: A Love Unrealized
by Marah Rusli

Format: Paperback, Indonesian
575 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: /9789794071670
Published Jan 01, 2008 by Balai Pustaka

View on Goodreads | Google Books
Also see Sitti Nurbaya: A Love Unrealized

First published in 1922, the novel “Sitti Nurbaya: A Love Unrealized,” by Marah Rusli, retains the poignancy that made it a modern Indonesian classic. In terms of its social impact in what was then the Dutch East Indies, “Sitti Nurbaya” may be compared to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in the ante-bellum United States. Even to this day, the issues of injustice and indignities suffered by women that this novel raised continue to be debated throughout the country. Rich in description, dense with ironic foreboding and the inexorable workings of fate, Sitti Nurbaya is Samsu and “Sitti Nurbaya”‘s ill-fated love story. But in their wishes, the reader might also also discern young people’s tantalizing dream of what the East Indies society might become, or could become, if only local genius, embodied in a modernizing youth emancipated from stifling traditions, could fuse with European genius in mutual respect and admiration. This too was, of course, a dream never to be realized, and one perhaps which never could have been realized.

Both classic and contemporary writers despise the old ways, demanding an immediate and progressive change in the local traditions their societies have been holding for generations.
Ratih Dwi Astuti   in Indonesian Local Culture in Literature: Past and Present (Personal Blog, Feb 16, 2017)
My first contention, then, is that the plot of Sitti Nurbaja, and its style of characterisation, can be, without offence, termed 'melodramatic'.
Harry Aveling   in “Sitti Nurbaja”: Some reconsiderations (BRILL, Jan 01, 1971)

*) An affiliate link. If you buy the book through this link, we may earn a small commission.