Na Willa is a bright, adventurous girl living in Surabaya’s suburbs, her home in the middle of an alley surrounded by cypress trees. She spends her days running after trains with Dul (she always beats him), going down to the market with Mak, and thinking about how people can sing through radios. But while everyone else tells Na Willa what to do and who to be, Na Willa wants to be free. She doesn’t want to be “just” a girl, she doesn’t want to look just like Pak, or just Mak. She wants to be both and more.
Indonesian author Reda Gaudiamo has created a collection of stories of curious adventures and musings of a multicultural girl growing up in Indonesia with an East Indonesian mother and a Chinese-Indonesian father. Set in a time when children spent the day outside, listening to Lilis Suryani’s songs on the radio, and when race and gender would still go undiscussed, this is Na Willa’s story as she grows up unafraid to ask the big questions.
Translated from the Indonesian by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul and Kate Wakeling.