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Sitti Nurbaya

Book Chronicles / Review

In this article:
Sitti Nurbaya: A Love Unrealized

Written by Orthofer, M.A., originally published in Complete Review

May 08, 2015

Sitti Nurbaya -- Nurbaya, also called Nur, is the teenage heroine of the story; 'Sitti' a not-age-specific female honorific (i.e. -- but not quite -- both 'Miss' and 'Ma'am') -- is subtitled: A Love Unrealized, which kind of gives away where this story is headed. From its beginning, Sitti Nurbaya does indeed seem like it will follow the more or less traditional romance-tale course, focused on the doomed love between Nur and Sam -- Samsulbahri. It turns out, however, that there's a bit more to it, as the novel is also decidedly polemic (especially about women's rights and marriage, though also addressing some of the local-tradition and colonial issues of the day) and veers away from its romance story in a rather startling way. (Without giving too much away, let's just say that with more than a quarter of the novel left the full unrealizability of the love has manifested itself -- not that Rusli doesn't have one or two more nice twists up his sleeve to surprise the reader with.)

Read the full article here.

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