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The Girl from The Coast (1987) by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, a Peasant Girl Turned an Aristocratic Wife

Book Chronicles / Review

In this article:
The Girl from the Coast

Written by Gaby Rusli, originally published in Asia Media

Apr 28, 2022

GABY RUSLI WRITES (in her ongoing series on classic Indonesian literature) — Through versatility and natural eloquence, Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s, The Girl From The Coast (1987), took a seemingly simple story based on the author’s grandmother’s life into a complex metaphor that simultaneously represents female oppression and the exploitative dynamics between the ruling class and the poor. The Girl From The Coast is the semi-fictional story of an unnamed, impoverished fourteen-year-old girl, referred to in the book only as “the Girl.” She lives in an equally poor coastal village and finds herself married off to an unknown, wealthy aristocrat in need of another “practice wife” (a peasant woman made into a wife by an aristocrat only to be divorced and shunned when the aristocrat is no longer interested). As she traverses the rocky waters of her newfound societal station, she realizes how fragile and insecure life can be for a woman of no means in the face of a patriarchal caste-oriented society.

Read the full article here.

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