The Scented Mummy by Naning Pranoto was published in Indonesia as Mumi Beraroma Minyak Wangi by IndonesiaTera in 2001. This is the English translation. It tells the story of a middle class woman whose life is numbed by politics: hence the term ‘mummy’ to describe the shell of an existence that she lives. The cause of her suffering is Suharto’s New Order regime with its anti-Communist and crony-capitalist characteristics. For three decades from the 1960s to the 1990s, it created victims on the one hand and unprincipled opportunists on the other. While President Suharto had been hailed in his time as the father of development, this ‘development’ was viewed with irony by the common people who were left weak and dependent.
It is the story of these common people that Pranoto tells. She does so though the setting of Bandung in the 1970s and shanty town at the garbage dump area around Cilincing, Jakarta, in the 1980s onwards. She shows how the desperately poor take in the middle class woman who finds herself amongst them, and how her perfume-making business helps them. Ultimately, however, a political novel such as this can only end realistically for its protagonist despite the hope and courage expressed in the face of adversity.
Rosita Dellios, Associate Professor of International Relations Bond University Gold Coast Australia
About the Author:
Naning Pranoto was born in Yogyakarta in 1957 and now lives in Bogor – West Java, Indonesia. She is a freelancer writer and has worked as a journalist and editor for Indonesian magazines since 1977. In addition to self-help vocational booklets. Until in mid 2008, she has written 20 novels. The Scented Mummy is her 12th novel which was published in Indonesian in 2000.
In 2001, she graduated from Bond University Australia with a Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Chinese Studies. Since 2003 she has been chief executive of Garda Budaya Indonesia Foundation (www.rayakultura.net), a voluntary charitable organization. Besides her time-consuming work with the Foundation, she conducts creative writing workshops at primary schools up university level in throughout Indonesia.
Naning Pranoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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