The cockatoo's lie

Melanie Fleurie is a woman of forty, a successful author who tries to write an autobiography so that she can reach a deeper understanding of her personal and sexual identity. The project fails, and instead she writes a letter to her ninety-year-old grandmother, Charlotte, setting down the stories of four generations of women. At the core of Marion Bloem's work are the difficulties facing second-generation Dutch-lndonesians: children who were born in The Netherlands, but who are sufficiently Indonesian to be barred from "belonging" to either country. They feel most drawn to Indonesia, but the realities of that country conflict with the nostalgic tales their older relatives tell about the East Indies. The magical and mysterious fabric of Indonesian culture, as seen from a Western point of view, is drawn tautly over the historical turmoil Indonesia experiented during the Dutch colonial period, the Japanese Occupation and afterwards.

 

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