Angel and Kinnari
Original title: Engel en Kinnari
Louisa wanders through life, having never learned how to be a child or a mother. She was betrothed as a foster child at the age of thirteen and yearns to know who her biological parents are. She hopes finding her mother will put an end to her uncertainty and loneliness, but the people around her insist that her lineage is irrelevant: her mother was likely a njai, a Dutchman’s concubine. Someone best not spoken of as to be born out of wedlock is shameful. Louisa can count herself lucky because she is recognised as Eurasian and belongs with the superior white rulers of the Dutch East Indies. But when she looks at herself in the mirror, she sees something quite different.
Louisa tries to escape her dreadfully boring life as a housewife in the affluent city of Buitenzorg by doing a lot of reading. Her friendship with a woman of Chinese descent and her Javanese secretary, two outsiders the European community looks down on, opens new doors. They give her the wings of the kinnari, the mythical goddess of love, and Louisa finally learns to make her own decisions. Until one day she finds herself taking care of her sick husband and elderly aunt. They may call her an angel, but she has lost her wings.
She nonetheless decides to go looking for her mother to discover who she really is: a Western angel or an Eastern kinnari. Though her quest does not go as expected, she finds an answer to this question and feels she knows where she belongs at last.
- English sample available
- Under option: Italy, Serbia, Indonesia