Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk (The Dancer) by Ahmad Tohari: An Indonesian Classic

All Things Books / Review

About Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk,
Written by Fanda Classiclit, and was originally published in Personal Blog,
Mar 15, 2023

Srintil and Rasus, our protagonists, were born and grew up in a small village in Indonesia called Dukuh Paruk, which, geographically, is quite isolated. It can only be reached from the outside by traversing the network of dikes bordering the wet rice fields. This isolation, I believe, has contributed to the illiteracy, poverty, obscenity, and superstition of its people. 💃🏻 Set in the year 1950s-60s, Dukuh Paruk's pride is in their Ronggeng. Here's my previous post where I talked about Ronggeng and its little similarity with Geisha. They believe that when a Ronggeng spirit inhabits a little girl, she is destined to grow up as a Ronggeng. Srintil is this little girl. She loves to sing Ronggeng songs while playing with a boy called Rasus, her best friend. Like her, he is also an orphan, due to a tragic poisoning case which took their parents' lives. Becoming a Ronggeng, thus, is Srintil's obsession, though without fully understanding of what it truly is.

Read the full article here.