Gadis Kretek

Author: Ratih Kumala
Publisher: PT Gramedia Penerbit Utama
Publication Date: March 2012
Pages: 275

After writing about Betawi culture in Kronik Betawi, now Ratih Kumala launched her latest book with unique theme. Still talking about local culture but this time the author tells about Gadis Kretek, the Javanese culture started from Dutch occupation until now, the modern era.

The main characters here are three siblings, Tegar, Karim, Lebas, the heirs of Kretek Djagat Raja. Their father, Mr. Raja is dying and suddenly is giving his latest order to his sons to look for Jeng Yah, his ex-girl friend from long long time ago.

The journey in fulfilling their father's request bring the three siblings to a nostalgia. They must flash back to their family secrets and family business. They go along several cities in Java island and try their best to find out Jeng Yah who was used to be very famous as the owner of Kretek Gadis.

It's really a beautiful and very rich story. It's not only a romance but it is far deeper than that. The author is doing excellent research about kretek cigarette industry from time to time and completed with the up and down of the industry. No wonder that the flow of the story and the characters appear in the book are delivered vividly. A must read.