Belenggu (Shackles) by Armijn Pane

Book Story / Review

About Shackles,
Written by Riva Carmela, and was originally published in Personal Blog,
May 19, 2016


Published in 1940, Belenggu (or Shackles in its English reincarnation) is widely considered the first modern Indonesian novel. I agree with this assessment. Prior, Indonesian prose focused on the dramatic romances of star-crossed lovers with rotten villains twirling metaphorical moustaches. Granted, early Indonesian literature had cultural and social commentary to make up for the soapy melodrama, but for the most part, novels like Sitti Nurbaya have always elicited eye rolls from my part.

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