Friday, January 30, 2015

Anna (Dunia Anna) by Jostein Gaarder

Jostein Gaarder, one of my favorite contemporary writers, is a remarkable storyteller. He could weave serious issues into an entertaining novel that it doesn’t feel like patronizing. Most (or all?) of his books are addressed to young readers, but adults can also enjoy his thoughts. Anna (translated to Bahasa Indonesia as Dunia Anna) is his latest novel, and it discusses about climate change and earth damage.

Anna would turn sixteen on 12 December 2012, and she gets an ancient ruby ring. For several nights, she has been dreaming about herself in the body of another girl of her age, even stays in the same house, named Nova. The difference is that Nova lives in 2082, when the face of our earth has completely changed. Temperature is going down, and many plants and animals are extinct, in consequence of human’s mismanagement of their nature. It turns out that Nova is Anna’s great-granddaughter, and now Nova is demanding her great-grandmother to restore the damaged earth to its early shape—that is before people from Anna’s generation spoiled it. And Anna sees it all in her dreams.

Now together with her boyfriend Jonas, Anna is going to work her best to prevent the earth damage. It is an almost impossible thing to do, but she apparently knows that the earth has gotten a second chance, and it’s up to her whether Nova her great-granddaughter must witness the damaged earth or can live happily as she is now.

As a young adult novel, Anna might be an engaging novel which entertaining as well as inspiring young people to act more responsibly towards their environment. But for adult readers, I think it lacks Sophie’s World or Maya’s deep reflection. It is in the story itself; it’s too short and a bit forced. When Anna needs a solution to save 1001 animals and plants, then voila!... Jonas produced it the day after, as he has just written it for school task. Too easy? And how about Aladdin’s magic ring which still had one request to be fulfilled, which is now belonged to Anna—the precious ruby ring? It’s a bit too childish, don’t you think?

But overall, Gaarder’s idea is good, and perhaps with this book, he wants to encourage young people to start thinking about earth problems; and that this big project is not impossible as long as we have courage and determination to start it. As is with his other books, Gaarder asks us to view outside ourselves; that we are part of a bigger existence, and we have equal responsibility to protect what God has trusted in our management.

Three and a half stars for Anna! And special thanks to my #secretsanta for giving me this.

Buat Santa: mampir ke sini ya...


I read Indonesian translation from Mizan publishing group

This book is counted as:


  1. owww so the target audience is younger readers I guess? Like Perpustakaan Ajaib Bibbi Bokken? But Jostein Gaarder always mesmerized me so maybe I will read this one too :)

    1. I think most of his books are for young readers. This one's translation also supports it for being YA novel. :)

  2. Aku, kebanyakan buku Gaarder yg tertimbun sampe bingung mau baca yg mana dulu XD

  3. pecutin bzee untuk baca dunia anna :P

  4. Nice review, aku belum pernah baca karangan Jostein Gaarder, kayaknya bagus ^.^

  5. Amazing review. I read Sophie's World last time and I agree to your writing 'bout Jostein Gaarder's books.

    Where do I get an English Version ebook for this book anyway?

    Email me