Rochayah Machali (
Ida Nurhayati  (

Title: Magical realism in Utami's "Larung" and Thohari's "Ronggeng"


In the 2001 ASILE, we presented "Teaching Ayu Utami's Saman", the full paper of which has been published in GEMA Journal (Vol 5[1] 2005). In the paper, titled "The Novel Saman: Challenging Traditional Values", a small segment has been devoted to the discussion of magic realism in the novel (part 4). This present paper, therefore, presents a more elaborated and deeper discussion of magic realism in current Indonesian novels, mainly by comparing Thohari's Ronggeng and Ayu Utami's Larung. In both, there is a strong presence of Javanese mysticism. Both writers make use of the Javanese mystical elements and power (keris, selamatan, mantra, jopa-japu, pati geni) but for different reasons. In addition, the narrative technique is also strikingly different. Utami, as she does in Saman, uses 'frame story' in Larung, defying linearity in plot. Thohari's narration, on the other hand, is linear. In this paper, we'll make a short journey to magical realism in the two novels mentioned above.


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