Akar Tradisi

Dewi Anggraeni lahir di Jakarta, Indonesia dan sekarang tinggal di Melbourne, Australia dimana beliau berada di Sekolah Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Politik, Jurusan Ilmu Sastra, di Universitas Monash, Melbourne.

Selain sebagai perwakilan majalah Tempo untuk Australia, beliau juga penulis berita tetap untuk The Jakarta Post, Pesona, Femina dan sejumlah media cetak lainnya.

Penulis karya rekaan (fiksi) dan kisah nyata (non-fiksi) yang menguasai dua bahasa dan banyak berkarya ini adalah juga seorang peneliti masalah kemasyarakatan yang diakui. Anggraeni telah menerbitkan karyanya dalam bahasa Indonesia dan Inggris.

Beliau memiliki hubungan dan pengaruh di Australia, Indonesia, Hongkong, Korea Selatan, Inggris, Belanda, dan Amerika. Anda dapat menemukan daftar karya penerbitan Dewi yang lengkap di www.indrabooks.com, www.equinoxpublishing.com, dan www.mizanpublishing.com

Karya kisah nyata (non-fiksi) Anggraeni yang terakhir berjudul, Mereka Bilang Aku China; jalan mendaki menjadi bagian bangsa. – Bentang Pustaka, Indonesia – Oktober 2010 ISBN 978-602-8811-13-2 dan Breaking The Stereotype; Chinese Indonesian women tell their stories. – Indra Publishing – Australia – November 2010 – ISBN 978-192-0787-19-6

 

AKAR TRADISI

Tanpa semangat sedikitpun, Rusdi naik, lalu duduk di tempat duduk belakang, dan Sadli, sopirnya, menutup pintu mobil. Dia tidak berkata apa-apa selama Sadli mencolok kunci mesin mobil dan menyalakan mesin dengan mulus. Tapi sebelum mobil bergerak dia bertanya, ‘Ibu Sepuh sudah kamu jemput tadi?’ Maksudnya mertuanya, yang baru datang berkunjung dari Palembang.

‘Sudah Pak. Saya langsung antarkan Ibu Sepuh ke rumah.’

Rusdi diam. Dia tidak suka membicarakan urusan keluarga di luar tugas sehari-hari dengan sopirnya, tapi dia tahu pasti Sadli mengetahuinya sampai serinci-rincinya. Sadli dan para pembantu rumah pasti merumpi, saling memberi kabar dan menduga-duga tentang keadaan rumah tangganya. ‘Lakonku dan Rifa tentu jauh lebih menarik daripada sinetron apapun di televisi’, pikirnya gemas.

Lalulintas di penghujung jam kantor, seperti biasa, macet. Tapi kali ini Rusdi tidak resah. Malah dia menikmati kelambatannya mencapai rumah, mengundurkan saat bertemu muka dengan mertuanya.

Dia tahu benar apa yang akan dihadapinya. Mertuanya sangat menentang niatnya untuk membawa Rifa menemui dokter ahli jiwa.

‘Tidak! Aku tidak mengizinkan! Tidak boleh!’ tegasnya di telepon.

‘Tapi, tapi Bu, dokter kami sudah mengatakan bahwa dia menderita tekanan bathin! Kalau tidak mendapatkan perawatan yang layak dia takkan pulih…’

‘Sudah berapa lama dia mengalami tekanan bathin? Mengapa kamu atau Rifa tidak memberitahu aku?’

Rusi mendehem menjernihkan tenggorokannya. Belum lagi sempat dia memikirkan jawabannya, mertuanya sudah memutuskan, ‘Jangan kamu berbuat apa-apa sampai aku melihatnya sendiri. Dan aku akan segera memesan tempat pada pesawat yang pertama yang ke Jakarta besok. Suruh sopirmu menjemputku!’

Setibanya di rumah, Rusdi turun di garasi dan masuk melalui pintu belakang, melewati dapur. Sadli memberikan aktentasnya kepada Titi, pembantu keluarga.
Ketika dia melangkah keluar dari dapur, Rusdi mendapatkan rumahnya sepi. ‘Ibu dan Ibu Sepuh di mana?’ tanyanya kepada Titi.

‘Mereka keluar tidak lama sesudah Ibu Sepuh tiba, Pak,’ sahut Titi dengan wajah bersih dari amarah.

Rusdi hampir mengerutkan keningnya, tapi dia tidak berhenti dan langsung memasuki kamar tidurnya, lalu menutup pintunya. Bebas dari tatapan orang-orang di sekitarnya, Rusdi duduk di tempat tidurnya dan menjatuhkan kepalanya ke dalam genggaman tangannya.

Rasa sakit dan pening di kepalanya agak menyurut, dan diapun tidak bergerak selama beberapa lama. Tiba-tiba dia mendengar pintu depan terbuka dan suara istrinya berbicara dengan Titi. Rasa takjub membuatnya mengangkat kepala. Belum pernah dia mendengar Rifa menggunakan begitu banyak kata-kata sejak beberapa minggu ini. Barangkali Rifa hanya berbicara kalau dia sedang tidak di rumah. Rusdi menunggu. Tapi yang ditunggu-tunggunya tidak muncul. Diapun bangkit pelan-pelan dan keluar dari kamar.

Di halaman belakang Rifa dan ibunya sedang duduk-duduk minum es teh. Rifa menoleh ketika Rusdi mendekat dan melemparkan senyum setengah hati. Rusdi mencium tangan mertuanya. Di dekat perempuan ini, Rusdi, sarjana arsitektur lulusan Universitas Melbourne dan sekarang memangku jabatan penting pada sebuah perusahaan perancang gedung dan bangunan terkenal, kembali pada tuntutan budaya dan adat-istiadat, tentunya sampai batas-batas tertentu.

Setelah menyapa istrinya diapun menarik sebuah kursi dan duduk, sedikit banyak menghadap Rifa dan ibunya. Tengkuknya terasa menegang bersiap menghadapi perang syaraf. Tidak lama mereka mengobrol basa-basi tanpa juntrungannya, karena mertuanya segera memulai ‘serangan’, ‘Rus, aku membawa Rifa ke dukun.’

Mata Rusdi melotot. ‘Apa? Oh, maaf, Ibu, mengapa, buat apa?’

‘Rus, aku ibu Rifa. Aku kenal benar anakku. Dia bukan seorang yang macam-macam. Bukan yang suka mudah mengalami tekanan bathin. Aku curiga ada yang menjahatinya. Dan ternyata aku benar. Kata dukun, dia diguna-guna…”

‘Tentu saja dia mengatakan begitu! Guna-guna macam apa, katanya, kalau saya boleh bertanya?’

Mertuanya bangkit pelan-pelan, melangkah ke dapur, dan kembali dengan sebilah pisau. Tanpa sadar Rusdi merapatkan kedua pahanya dan menempatkan tangannya di pangkuannya. Matanya tidak berkedip mengikuti gerak-gerik mertuanya.

‘Ayo, kalian berdua,’ kata sang mertua dengan tenang.

Rusdi melongo. Rifa bangkit dan mengikuti ibunya, ke kamar tidur mereka! Dengan hati berdebar-debar sarat dengan rasa ingin tahu, sekaligus lega bahwa pisau yang dipegang mertuanya bukan ditujukan pada bagian tubuh dirinya, diapun bangun dan mengikuti mereka. Untung pada saat itu ada sinetron yang mulai, kalau tidak pasti pembantu dan tukang masaknya akan mengintai dari balik pintu dapur.

Di pintu dengan ragu-ragu Rusdi berhenti dan mengawasi mertuanya melangkah ke ranjangnya, lalu berpaling kepadanya dan bertanya, ‘Kamu tidur di sisi mana, Rus?’

‘Di sisi itu,’ sahut Rusdi, perasaan terperangkap mencekamnya.

‘Jadi, kamu tidur di sisi ini, Rif?’ kini si mertua bertanya kepada putrinya sendiri. Rifa mengangguk.

‘Rus, ada guna-guna yang tertanam dalam kasur kalian, di bawah bantal Rifa.’

Rusdi tertegun. Marah dan rasa tak berdaya melumpuhkan syaraf-syaraf tubuhnya. Istrinya sudah diperiksa menderita tekanan bathin. Omong-kosong apa ini, guna-guna? Apa mertuanya tidak bisa menerima kenyataan bahwa putrinya membutuhkan perawatan dokter jiwa? Apa dia harus memindahkan rasa malunya pada sumber di awang-awang agar tidak hilang muka?

‘Jadi itu yang dikatakan si dukun?’ tanya Rusdi sambil meringis.

Mertuanya tidak menjawab, tapi menyerahkan pisau itu kepadanya. ‘Kalau kau tidak percaya, mengapa kau tidak membongkarnya dan melihatnya sendiri?’

Rusdi tak dapat lagi menahan diri. ‘Apa? Aku tidak akan merusak kasur bagus dan enak cuma karena seorang penghuni gua yang sangat kuno, atau seorang penipu yang mengaku sebagai dukun mengatakan bahwa ada guna-guna di dalamnya! Astaga Ibu, kita hidup di abad keduapuluh satu!’

Mertuanya tidak beringsut dari tempatnya berdiri. ‘Tenang Rus, aku juga seorang sarjana, kau ingat? Namun aku tidak pernah melupakan akar budaya dan adat-istiadatku! Nah, jangan mengelak, bongkar kasur ini! Sebelah sini!’

Rusdi meraih pisau tadi, dan sebelum dia menggerakkannya ke arah tenggorokan mertuanya, dia memburu ke tempat tidurnya, menarik selimutnya dan menusuk lalu merobek kasur pada tempat yang ditunjuk mertuanya. Lalu, masih mengikuti petunjuk mertuanya, dia memasukkan tangannya ke dalam lubang yang dibuatnya, mencari-cari.

Tiba-tiba, air mukanya berubah. Tidak lagi memancarkan ‘aku harap tak seorangpun tahu aku melakukan ini’. Tangannya menyentuh sesuatu, dan dia segera menariknya keluar. Sebuah kantong kain putih berada dalam genggamannya. Entah mengapa, dia langsung menjatuhkannya ke lantai. Wajahnya pucat. Dia mematung memandanginya selama tigapuluh detik, lalu memeriksa kasur yang dirusaknya. Tangannya meraba ke sana, ke mari. Tidak ada bekas jahitan atau lubang rahasia yang tadi luput dari perhatiannya. Jadi, dengan kata lain, tidak mungkin barang itu dimasukkan dengan tangan manusia ke dalam kasurnya.

Ketika dia membungkuk untuk memungut kantong putih itu, mertuanya berkata, ‘Jangan!’

Dikeluarkannya sebuah botol kecil dari tas tangannya, yang tentunya didapatnya dari si dukun, membukanya dan menuangkan cairan isinya ke atas kantong putih di lantai, yang mengeluarkan bunyi ‘hsssss’ bagai ular. Kemudian, di depan mata mereka, kantong itu terbuka. Sejumlah paku dan pecahan-pecahan gelas keluar dari dalamnya, jatuh berantakan di lantai. Kalau Rifa tidak menjadi lunglai dan jatuh pingsan, mungkin mereka masih berdiri memaku di tempat masing-masing.

Keesokan harinya di kantor, Rusdi tidak melihat Korina, perancang ruangan gedung yang baru bekerja selama tiga bulan pada perusahaan itu. Di kantornya yang berdinding kaca, dia mencoba menelepon Korina pada telepon genggamnya, lalu ke rumahnya. Pembantunya menjawab dan mengatakan bahwa majikannya sakit dan tak dapat menjawab telepon.

Siang itu Rusdi iseng-iseng bertanya kepada Ita, salah seorang arsitek yang lebih tua dari dirinya, di mana Korina. Ita menatapnya, lalu sebuah senyum ringan tersungging pada wajahnya. ‘Korina? Aku dengar dia pergi ke dukunnya buat urusan sangat penting,’ ujar Ita.

Rusdi tercengang. ‘Korina ke dukun? Astaga! Ternyata kita tidak tahu banyak tentang orang-orang yang kita…’ dia menggumam. Tiba-tiba dia bertanya-tanya, apa tiap orang di kantor mengetahui hubungannya dengan Korina?

‘Apa kata orang tentang aku dan Korina?’ akhirnya dia menemukan suaranya.

Ita memandangnya dengan bauran rasa kasihan dan rasa tidak percaya. ‘Rusdi, kau tidak dilindungi aji halimun. Tiap orang bisa melihat gerak-gerikmu,’ katanya.

Rusdi jadi panik. ‘Jadi, eh, menurut kau, istriku juga tahu?’

Wajah Ita jadi bersungguh-sungguh. ‘Rusdi, semua orang tahu. Coba pikir, mengapa istrimu menderita tekanan bathin?’

Sementara itu di rumah, Rifa sedang duduk di tempat tidur ibunya, menyuapi dirinya soto ayam yang bahan-bahannya disediakan oleh dukun mereka. Ibunya duduk di sisinya, menghiburnya. ‘Semua beres sekarang, Rif,’ bisiknya.

******

Roots

Dewi Anggraeni was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and now lives in Melbourne, Australia where she is an Adjunct Research Associate at the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, at the Monash University in Melbourne.
Apart from being the Australian representative of Tempo News Magazine, she is a regular contributor to The Jakarta Post, Pesona, Femina, and a number of other publications.

A prolific bilingual fiction and non-fiction writer, as well as a recognized social researcher, Anggraeni has been published in Indonesian and English. She has a presence in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and United States.

You can find a complete list of Dewi’s publications by looking up www.indrabooks.com, www.equinoxpublishing.com, and www.mizanpublishing.com

Anggraeni’s latest non-fiction bilingual work appeared under the following titles, MEREKA BILANG AKU CHINA; jalan mendaki menjadi bagian bangsa. – Bentang Pustaka, Indonesia – October 2010 ISBN 978-602-8811-13-2 and BREAKING THE STEREOTYPE; Chinese Indonesian women tell their stories. – Indra Publishing – Australia – November 2010 – ISBN 9781920787196.

 

ROOTS

Rusdi reluctantly climbed into the back seat of the car before Sadli, his driver, closed the door. He waited while Sadli turned on the ignition and started the engine, then asked, ‘Did you pick up Ibu Sepuh, then?’ referring to his mother-in-law, who had come visiting from Palembang.

‘Yes, Pak. I drove Ibu Sepuh to your home safely.’

Rusdi didn’t enquire further. He was not in the habit of discussing family affairs with his driver, though he swore that Sadli knew every detail anyway. He and the domestic staff would have traded gossip, putting each other in the complete picture. Rusdi and Rifa provided better entertainment to their staff than the nightly soapies on TV.

The peak-hour traffic was heavy as usual, but this time it didn’t bother Rusdi. In fact, he welcomed the slow trip home, delaying his face-to-face confrontation with his mother-in-law.

He knew what to expect. His mother-in-law was dead against his idea of psychiatric treatment for Rifa.

‘I shall never allow it. Never!’ she’d said emphatically over the phone.

‘But mother, the doctor says she is clinically depressed! She’ll never get better unless she gets treatment…’

‘How long has this been going on? Why haven’t you or Rifa told me she wasn’t well?’

Rusdi had cleared his throat. And before he’d had time to think of an answer, his mother-in-law had laid down the law, ‘You are not to do anything to Rifa until I have seen her. And I am getting on the first flight tomorrow. Do arrange for your driver to pick me up!’

Rusdi stepped into the house from the garage through the back door, past the kitchen. Sadli had handed his briefcase to Titi, the maid. Beyond the kitchen the house was quiet. ‘Where are Ibu and and Ibu Sepuh?’ he asked Titi. ‘They went out not long after Ibu Sepuh arrived, Pak,’ replied Titi, her face totally impassive.

Rusdi checked a frown and walked on to his bedroom then closed the door behind him. Alone, he lowered himself on to the bed and dropped his head in his hands.

It seemed to ease his pain so he didn’t move for some time. Suddenly he heard the front door open and his wife’s voice talking to Titi. He hadn’t heard Rifa uttering so many words for weeks. Maybe she did speak when he wasn’t home.

He waited and waited, but Rifa didn’t come in. So he heaved himself up and stepped out of the bedroom.

He found them sitting in the courtyard sipping iced tea. Rifa turned to him and barely smiled. Rusdi rushed to his mother-in-law and kissed her hand. In front of her, Rusdi, a Melbourne University educated executive in a prestigious architecture firm, resumed his traditional self, to a certain degree.

After muttering a greeting to Rifa, he sat down in another chair, vaguely facing his wife and her mother. He felt his neck tense up for the battle to come.

After a brief moment of meaningless small talk, his mother-in-law began the offensive, ‘Rus, I took Rifa to a dukun.’

Rusdi’s eyes nearly popped. ‘You did what? Oh, pardon me. Mother, why on earth did you do that?’

‘Rus, I’m Rifa’s mother. I know my daughter. She’s not the hystrionic type. Not the depressive type. I was sure something had been done to her, and I was right. The dukun said there was guna-guna, a spell…’

‘Oh he would say that, wouldn’t he? What kind of guna-guna, if I may ask?’

His mother-in-law slowly got up, went to the kitchen, and came back with a knife. Rusdi involuntarily brought his legs together and placed his hands in the middle of his lap. His eyes didn’t leave his mother-in-law’s hand for a second.

‘Follow me, both of you,’ she said calmly.

Rusdi watched on, incredulous, when Rifa turned and followed her mother, to their bedroom. Bursting with curiosity, and assured now that the knife was not meant for any part of him, he rose and followed too. But for the fact that one of the soapies had started, he would have been sure that the maid and the cook would have been peering from behind the kitchen door.

Rusdi stood hesitantly near the door and watched, as his mother-in-law stepped towards the bed then turned to him and asked, ‘Which side do you sleep on?’

‘That side,’ replied Rusdi, feeling inexplicably yet definitely trapped.

‘So you sleep on this side, Rif?’ she now asked her daughter. Rifa nodded.

‘Rus, there is guna-guna planted in this mattress under Rifa’s pillow.’

Rusdi was speechless, momentarily paralysed by a combination of anger and powerlessness. His wife had been diagnosed as clinically depressed. What was this nonsense about guna-guna? Couldn’t her mother accept the fact that her daughter needed psychiatric treatment? Did she have to shift the shame to an ephemeral source?

‘Is that what the dukun told you?’ he asked, smirking.

Instead of answering, his mother-in-law handed him the knife. ‘If you don’t believe it, why don’t you open it up and find out for yourself?’

Rusdi could no longer restrain himself. ‘What? I am not going to destroy a perfectly good mattress just because a mad troglodyte or a clever con man who calls himself a dukun told you there was guna-guna in it! For God’s sake, mother, this is the twenty-first century!’

His mother-in-law didn’t flinch. ‘Calm down Rus, I went to school also, remember? But I’ve never forgotten my roots! Now stop arguing and open the mattress! This side.’

He took the knife, and before he moved in the direction of his mother-in-law’s throat, Rusdi dashed towards the bed, pulled the sheet back and slashed the mattress at the nominated spot. Then, still following her instructions, he pushed his hand into the hole he’d made, probing.

Suddenly, the ‘I hope no-one ever finds out about this’ expression disappeared from his face. Rusdi pulled his hand out, and in it, was a small bag made of white cloth. As soon as he was able to, he dropped it on the floor. His face was colourless. He stood motionless for some thirty seconds, then began to examine the mattress. There was no way the bag had been manually put in, unless it had been there when they’d bought the mattress.

When he bent down to pick up the bag, his mother-in-law spoke, ‘Don’t!’

She then took a bottle from her handbag, presumably from the dukun, opened it and poured the liquid contents onto the bag, which for a moment seemed to come alive and began hissing. It then fell open by itself. A handful of nails and pieces of broken glass, and other spiky items scattered on the floor.

They would have stood there for a few more minutes, stunned, if Rifa hadn’t passed out.

The following day in the office, Rusdi couldn’t see Korina, the new interior decorator they’d recruited three months ago. Alone in his glassed office, he rang her home. Her maid answered the phone and said that her mistress was sick and unable to come to the phone.

That afternoon he casually asked Ita, one of his senior architects, about Korina’s whereabouts. Ita looked at him, meaningfully it seemed, and smiled ever so slightly. ‘Korina? I hear she’s gone to her dukun for some urgent matters,’ Ita said.

Rusdi was dumbfounded. ‘Korina went to a dukun? God! How little we know those whom we think are our…’, he mused. Then it occurred to him, did everyone in the office know about him and Korina?

‘What have people been saying about me and Korina?’ he finally found his voice.

Ita now looked at him with a combination of pity and incredulity. ‘Rusdi, you are not invisible,’ she said

Rusdi was alarmed. ‘Do you think, er, my wife knows?’

Ita’s smile disappeared. ‘Rusdi, everyone knows. Why d’you think she‘s been depressed?’

Back at home, Rifa was sitting up in bed recovering, fortified by a thick broth, from a chicken prepared by the dukun, her mother sitting on the edge of the bed. ‘Everything will be okay now, Rif,’ said her mother.

******

Only a Girl

Book Description

Publication Date: June 30, 2011

In Only a Girl three generations of Chinese women struggle for identity against a political backdrop of the world economic depression of the 1930s, World War II, and the Indonesian Revolution. Nanna, the matriarch of the family, strives to preserve the family’s traditional Chinese values while her children are eager to assimilate into Dutch colonial society. Carolien, Nanna’s youngest daughter, is fixated on the advantages promised by adopting a western lifestyle. She is proven wrong through her turbulent and ultimately failed marriage and the consequences of raising her daughter in the Dutch culture. Jenny’s western upbringing puts her at a disadvantage in the newly independent Indonesian state where Dutch culture is no longer revered. The unique ways in which Nanna, Carolien and Jenny face their own challenges reveal the complex tale of Chinese society in Indonesia between 1930 and 1952.

 

Product Detail

  • Price : $17.95
  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Dalang Publishing LLC
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0-9836273-7-1
  • Product dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping weight: 1 lb

Mengadang Pusaran

Book Description

Mengadang Pusaran is a translation of Only a Girl. Translation and publishing rights were purchased by P.T. Kanisius in February of 2020.

 

Product Detail

  • Price: Rp.132.000.00
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: PT. Kanisius
  • Language: Indonesian
  • ISBN: 978-979-21-6697-2
  • Product dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.75 inches
  • Shipping weight: 1 lb.

Namaku Mata Hari

Book Description

Namaku Mata Hari by Remy Sylado – PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama 2010 – ISBN 978-979-22-6281-0 is the original of My Name Is Mata Hari the English rendition by Dewi Anggraeni.

Hidup di seputar akhir abad ke-19 awal abad ke-20, Mata Hari seperti mewadahi berbagai gejolak zaman yang menjadi ciri khas pergantian abad, sampai kemudian terseret menjadi mata-mata ganda bagi Prancis dan Jerman pada Perang Dunia I. Dalam novel ini dikisahkan babak hidupnya yang belum banyak disingkap, yakni hidup Mata Hari di Indonesia.

 

Product Detail

  • Price :
  • Paperback: 559 pages
  • Publisher: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  • Language: Indonesian
  • ISBN: 978-979-22-6281-0
  • Product dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches

Colonial and Post-Colonial Connections in Dutch Literature

Last month I attended The 2011 UC Berkeley Conference in Dutch Literature.  For me, the highlight of the almost three-day conference was Friday, September 16, 2011, which was dedicated to Indonesia. It did not surprise me Indonesia was given center stage. After all, it had been the greatest asset of the Dutch crown. Continue reading

My Name Is Mata Hari

Book Description

Publication Date: September 2012

My Name Is Mata Hari is Dewi Anggreani’s English rendition of Namaku Mata Hari by Remy Sylado
(PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2010 ISBN 978-979-22-6281-0).

What drove Margaretha  Geertruida Zelle, a simple Dutch girl, to become Mata Hari? Acclaimed Indonesian author, Remy Sylado delves into her psyche  with emphathy as he imagines her transformation.

Obsessed with the belief that her mother’s roots were in Java, Indonesia, and eager to leave her alcoholic father, Margaretha sets her scandalous love life in motion when at eighteen years old, she marries much older Rudolph Campbell MacLeod, an officer in the Dutch colonial army. A violent sexual deviant, MacLeod fathers their son, Norman John, before their departure to the Indies.

Once in Java, Margaretha escapes from her husband’s abusive behavior by immersing herself in local culture. Pregnant with her second child, she joins an artists’ community near the Borobudur temple in Central Java, where she learns Javanese dances and is particularly drawn to its erotic form. A visiting high ranking colonial government official and the first of her many lovers, Cremer, this covers Margaretha and paves her way to become a professional performer.

The gynecologist who delivers her daughter, Jeanne Louisa, tells Margaretha that  Norman John, lame, mute, and almost blind, is a victim of syphilis transmitted by McLeod.  Enraged, she files for a divorce and stages her rebellion against patriarchy by indulging in an extravagant lifestyle and adopting the name Mata Hari from the Malay mata hari, meaning “eye of the day.”

Europe welcomes Mata Hari’s erotic delivery of exotic Javanese dance with sold out performances. She quickly becomes the most famous courtesan of her time. Meanwhile, the Dutch court grants her a divorce but declares her an unfit mother.

The forces that sweep WWI across Europe also drive Vladimir Masloff, a Rusian captain, into Mata Hari’s arms and, for the first time, she falls hopelessly in love. When Masloff loses his eyesight on the battlefield, she is determined to make enough money to spend the remainder of her life doing nothing else but taking care of him.

With high ranking military officers on either side of the battlefield vying for her favors, the war offers Mata Hari an opportunity to earn money quickly. Over-confident in her ability to seduce the most powerful men, she becomes ensnared in the political web. When French authorities arrest her for spying for Germany, Mata Hari is unable to prove her innocence.

In My Name Is Mata Hari  Margaretha Geertruida Zelle tells her story to the priest and the nun sent to provide her with spiritual support during her last days in the Saint Lazare prison before her execution by a military firing squad on October 15, 1917 in Bois de Vincennes, France. She was 41.

 

Product Detail

  • Price : $17.95
  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Dalang Publishing LLC
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0-9836273-0-2
  • Product dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping weight: 1 lb

Only A Girl has a new publisher

As of August 1, 2011 Only A Girl will be published by Dalang Publishing  and distributed by Ingram. The title will also be carried by Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The new ISBN number is 978-0-9836273-7-1.

While the content has remained the same, there is a marked improvement in the rendition of the cover art as well as the overall physical quality of the book. And, to top all of this, the list price has come down from $27.95 to $17.95!

In Indonesia, PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama will remain the publisher for Menantang Phoenix, the Indonesian translation.