Catrien Ross

Artist & Mystic in Japan

Still I Dream of Java

Still I Dream of Java by Catrien Ross looks at a dying Dutch East Indies through the eyes of Oty, the author’s beloved Tante (Auntie) Oty, who is a young girl when her comfortable Indo life begins to unravel. Oty recalls the brief joys of her early years in Central Java, as well as the astounding resilience and fortitude that allow the women in her family to survive the horrors that follow. The stories – funny, sad, inspiring – often defy belief. And because these are actual events happening to actual people, the author honors the memories by writing her book as a work of literary non-fiction, keeping real names and places unchanged. By interweaving historical and cultural facts throughout the book the author gives readers a deeper understanding of the colonial structure of the Dutch East Indies, and how a way of life as well as so many lives will be destroyed by what unfolds.

Why I Wrote This Book:

In Still I Dream of Java I retell the memories of a beloved Dutch-Indo aunt who grew up in the final, turbulent years of the Dutch East Indies, as the new nation of Indonesia emerged. For more than three hundred years the unique blended community of the Indo people had been integral to that vast archipelago. But as World War II and the Japanese occupation overturned Dutch rule, Indo society, too, disintegrated, never to recover.

I have written my book as a work of literary non-fiction because I write about actual people, surviving actual experiences, and I believe their incredible story, lived in a defining moment for world history, deserves to be told. So the names of people and places are real and unchanged. I have used creative techniques to convey dialogue but what happened took place.

Each of us recalls the past in our own unique way, but my hope is that my book will help in our remembering, and that in our shared memories we honor all that we are.

~ Catrien Ross


Books in Japanese by Catrien Ross include:
Kenjo no Mezame (Published by Energy Doorways in April, 2018)
Hikari no Uzu (Published by Energy Doorways in November, 2009)