The Three Little Men


[A review of a short story entitled The Three Little Men]

There was a widow who has a daughter and a widower who also has a daughter. The two girls were good friends. The woman wanted to marry the man, but with a requirement. Firstly, the man did not know whether he would marry her or not. But, finally he married the woman. Actually, the woman hated her step-daughter because she was pleasant and pretty, whether her real daughter was ugly and hateful. One day, the woman wanted her step-daughter to fetch a basket of strawberries for her. In the wood, the girl met three little men who lived there. Because she was good, the three little men had three best wishes for her. Unexpectedly, those three wishes were happened. The real daughter of the woman was jealous because of it. But, when she went to the wood too and met the same three little men, she could not get all of the good things. In contrary, she got bad wishes from the three little men because she was so unpleasant. When the woman set some injuries again, the good girl even met a King. The King married her, as the three little men foretold. When they had a son, the old woman and her daughter came to the castle. They threw the Queen out of the window. Then, the woman put her daughter in the bed. But, the King finally found her wife after brandishing his sword three times over a duck on the threshold. At the baptism of the King`s child, the old woman said that the best way to baptise was to roll a cask down the hill into the water. The King did it. He put the old woman and her daughter in a cask, and it was rolled down the hill into the river.


The Fisherman and His Wife


[A review of a short story entitled The Fisherman and His Wife]

There were a fisherman and his wife who lived in a pigsty, near to the seaside. One day, when the fisherman went fishing, he got a fish that was able to talk. The fish said that actually he was a prince. It wanted the man to let it go back to the water. The man did it because he had nothing to do with a fish that can talk. When he went home, he told his wife, Dame Ilsabil, about what had happened. The wife wanted him to ask to the fish to give them a snug little cottage. Actually, he did not really like that idea, but he went. He stood at the seashore, at the edge of yellow and green water, and told the fish his wife`s will. The fish made it true easily.

One or two weeks later, Ilsabil said that there was not near room enough for them in that cottage. She wanted to have a large stone castle to live in. The man went to the sea with heavy heart. The water looked blue and gloomy when he went close to the edge of the waves and told his wife`s will to the fish. Unbelievably, the fish made it real easily.

The next morning, Ilsabil woke her husband up and told him that they must be king of all the land. The man did not want to be king, but he was forced by his wife to ask the will to the fish. The sea looked a dark grey colour. It was overspread with curling waves and the ridge of foam when he cried out to call the fish. For the third time, the fish accepted what his wife`s will.

Ilsabil was not satisfied by being king. She wanted to be an emperor. Her husband could not refuse the will because she was king. When he came to the seashore, the water was quite black and muddy and a mighty whirlwind blew over the waves. The man told his wife`s will doubtfully, but for the fourth time, the fish made it true.

Ilsabil did not want to just stop at being an emperor. She wanted to be a pope. She did not care that there was but one pope at a time in Christendom. When the man went to the shore, a dreadful storm was rising. The man was dreadfully frightened, but he still told his wife`s will to the fish. For the fifth time, the fish realized it.

Thinking what she should be next, Ilsabil could not sleep all night long. At last, when she was dropping asleep, morning came. She was angry and wanted to prevent the sun rising. She wanted to be lord of the sun and moon. The man went shivering with fear to the shore. There was an extremely bad storm at that time. But, this time, the fish did not give the wife`s will. The fish sent the couple back to their pigsty.

Do We Live in A Pretty Odd World?


[A review of a short story entitled The Angel of the Odd by Edgar Allan Poe]

One day in November, there was a man who just finished having his dinner. He felt a little bit stupid after reading many books in the morning. Then, he read some columns and found something interesting about an odd accident on a column. He believed that it was a poor hoax. He couldn’t perceive that a man could be dead after playing “puff the dart” and unintentionally inhaled the needle into his lungs. After judging that the news was nonsense, he heard a mysterious sound which said that he was a fool because of his thought. He found an odd little creature confronting him at the table. He said that he was The Angel of the Odd and came there to let the man see himself. When the man threated him, the angel just reached across the table and hit his forehead. When the man asked him about his wings, the angel cried that wings are made for chicken and owl, not for an angel. Then, the man hurled a salt-cellar at the head of the angel, but he got an attack again. Knowing that the man was crying, the angel gave him a port of colourless fluid from his hand-bottles, which put him to sleep. Because of the water, he overslept and forgot his appointment. He went to bed and placed a candle at the bed head to help him reading. He got a nightmare about the angel, then woke up and found that his house was on fire because of his candle. He broke his arm when he jumped out of the window. Because of that accident, he wanted to marry a widow, but it failed.

One day, the man met his betrothed in an avenue. He was hastening to greet her when a small particle entered the corner of his eye and caused him blind for a moment. The angel suddenly came to help him, but his betrothed had gone. Because he was so unlucky, he got an idea of suicide. He divested himself of his clothes and threw himself to a river. Pending his suicide, he ran after a bird that took his breeches. He just realized that his feet were no longer standing above the earth; he grasped a long guide-rope of a passing balloon. When he just decided to jumped to the sea, the angel came. He would help him with a requirement. Since it was an impossible requirement to do, the man shook his head. The angel was angry, so that he drew a sharp knife across the guide-rope of the balloon. The man fell to the chimney of his new-rebuilt house and lay outstretched in his dining-room heart. His house was messy. He just realized that there was nothing odd that couldn’t happen in the world.

A Farewell to Arms


[A review of a novel entitled A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway]

Frederic Henry was an American ambulance driver who joined the Italian army during World War I. After taking his winter break, he met Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. Actually, she was loved by Rinaldi, Henry`s friend who was a surgeon. But, Barkley liked Henry more than Rinaldi. They both fell in love quickly.

One day, when Henry and three other drivers were eating in Plava, they were hit by a big trench mortal shell. Henry`s knee was badly wounded because of that accident. He would be shipped to an American hospital in Milan where there were better X-ray facilities and operation. In Milan, Henry was nursed by Miss Gage and Mrs. Walker. Several weeks later, Barkley was transferred to that hospital too. While waiting for his operation, Henry spent a lot of happy time with Barkley. After having some treatments, he got an official letter that informed him to go back to the front. Before he returned to the front, Barkley told him that she had been pregnant.

When Henry went back to Gorizia, his major wanted him to get to Udine with three ambulances. He went there with Piani, Bonello, and Aymo. In that journey, Bonello gave a ride to two sergeants, whereas Aymo gave a ride to two girls. When the two cars got stuck in a muddy road, the two sergeants went with the other car. One of them was shot, but the other had gone with the car. Finally, they went to Udine by foot. When they crossed the road, they were arrested by Italian army. Knowing that he would be executed, Henry jumped to the river. He rode a train illegally to Milan.

When Henry arrived in Milan, he got a bad news: Barkley had gone to Stresa with other nurses. Fortunately, Henry could find Barkley easily at a hotel near Stresa station. One night, someone came to tell him that he would be arrested in the morning. He decided to borrow a boat to Swiss. Henry and Barkley had a great time in Swiss. They lived in a house in the pine trees on the side of the mountain. They moved to Lausanne before having their baby. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was lengthy and painful. His baby was dead because the cord was caught around his neck and Barkley was dead too after having haemorrhages. That day was the worst day in his life.

Lolyta: My Sin, My Soul


[A review of a novel entitled Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov]

There was a young professor named Edgar Humbert who was so obsessed with little girls. He had his own theory about his obsession. He used a term nymphet to call girl under fourteen years old. That obsession showed that he was a paedophile. Paedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to children.

When Humbert’s uncle was dead, he left a business in America. Humbert decided to go there, but Valeria, his wife, did not want to. Knowing that she had another man in her life, he divorced her and left her to America. In America, he lived in a house of a rich widow named Charlotte Haze. He was so attracted to Charlotte’s daughter, Dolores Haze or Lolita. Knowing that Lolita and Humbert were so close, Charlotte sent her daughter to a summer camp for two months. When she sent Lolita to the camp, she left a confession letter. She told Humbert that she actually loved him. Humbert decided to pretend that he had the same feeling to her. He married her because he wanted to be close to Lolita every time.

Unpredictably, Charlotte was dead soon after their marriage. Humbert picked Lolita up from the camp and made a long journey with her. They rented some inns in several towns every night. There, Humbert had some experiences in making love with that twelve years old girl. Unfortunately, she left him in their second journey. She escaped from her father and started a new life with Clare Quilty, a weird playwright in her school.

Humbert tried to find her, but he failed. After spending two years with a stranger, he got a letter from Lolita. He found that Lolita was married and was pregnant. He was so sad because she really did not want to go with him. She said that her real love was Quilty. Humbert killed the man emotionally. But, he got a car accident after that. He knew that his life was already end because he had no nymphet anymore. He just realized that it was okay to have a very strong obsession to something or someone, unless it was logic and rational.

Sebuah Penjelajahan Ruang dan Waktu

Judul                           : Anomali 11/7

Penulis                         : Arum Effendi

Jumlah halaman           : 155 halaman (A4)

Penerbit                       : Gramedia Pustaka Utama (insya Allah ;D, sekarang masih di tangan juri Sayembara Roman DKJ)

sumber gambar:


sumber gambar:


…selepas memandikan, mbok membalut kedua bayi dalam gedhong rapat hingga hampir seluruh tubuhnya tertutup kain batik. Leher kedua bayi itu pun tertutup kain gedhong-nya, sehingga tanda lahir keduanya tak bisa terlihat. Dan aki pun membawa salah satu dari mereka, tanpa tahu Kartini atau Kanesti-kah yang ikut bersamanya. Kelak setelah aki pergi dan tiba waktu mandi sore, mbok bisa membuka gedhong dan tahu siapa yang tinggal bersamanya.

Kisah tentang bayi kembar yang terpisah itu sudah klise. Tapi, ada yang ganjil di tanggal 11 Juli 1973 itu. Perpisahan dua bayi itu merangkum dua cerita yang rumit. Sebenarnya, keduanya terlahir dari rahim seorang bangsawan dari Keraton Surakarta, Bendara Raden Ajeng Kusumayunito. Sepasang bayi haram dari hasil persenggamaan yang tidak diinginkan wanita itu dengan seorang priyayi alit, Ki Slamet Rahardjo. Wanita itu meninggal setelah mengalami pendarahan pasca persalinan dan terpaksa meninggalkan sepasang putrinya pada dua orang yang pernah mengabdi di keraton.

Kartini menyematkan nama van Rijn di belakang namanya setelah diasuh oleh keluarga van Rijn, sebuah keluarga berada di Leiden, Belanda. Sedangkan Kanesti akhirnya harus ‘dibuang’ oleh ayahnya sendiri ke Pulau Bali. Perpindahan pengasuhan keduanya bukan tanpa alasan. Kartini diasuh oleh keluarga van Rijn dengan latar belakang dana dan dibayangi Perang Vietnam yang rumit. Sementara Kanesti, dipindahkan ke Pulau Bali karena latar belakang romansanya dengan Yesaya, anak ‘resmi’ ayahnya sendiri.

Kartini mengukir kisahnya sendiri bersama Alpha Orion, seorang pemuda yang telah terbuang dari Uni Soviet demi mempertahankan agamanya. Pertemuannya dengan Alpha pun tak terduga, berasal dari pencarian ayah Nikolaas van Rijn. Kanesti, dalam masa kehidupannya yang baru, pada akhirnya mengenal Gusti Anjana, seorang pemahat patung dari batu cadas yang setengah gila karena ditinggal saudara kembarnya dengan alasan yang menyakitkan.

Kekuatan utama dalam novel ini adalah pengolahan setting tempatnya yang cerdas. Dari rahim hingga keraton. Dari Uni Soviet hingga Little Netherlands. Dari negeri penjajah hingga pulau para seniman. Dari pergantian latar inilah akhirnya tercipta alur yang tak datar dan monoton pula. Perpaduan keduanya, latar tempat beserta waktu dan alur yang acak membuat pembaca tak bisa menduga kejadian apa yang selanjutnya akan disuguhkan penulis.

Kekuatan lain yang mendominasi novel ini adalah penciptaan karakter-karakternya yang beragam dan kuat. Ada sepasang saudara kembar yang sama-sama menyukai dunia tari, walaupun tari yang mereka pelajari berbeda jauh karena perbedaan lingkungan yang membesarkan keduanya. Ada seorang pemuda penggila dunia langit, ada pula seorang pemuda penggila batu cadas yang tak bisa berhenti memahat batu-batu itu menjadi bentuk rupa yang beragam. Semuanya digambarkan dengan detail, segar, dan kaya.

Novel ini diceritakan dengan berbagai referensi. Tentang astronomi, tentang kehamilan, tentang tari, tentang perang, tentang banyak hal. Salah memilih kata saja akan membuat pembaca merasa risih dan digurui. Penulis sudah berhasil bermain dengan diksi hingga bisa menjabarkan kisah semua pemerannya dengan baik, walaupun ada beberapa penjelasan yang masih kaku.

Kisah ini tak berakhir dengan bertemunya sepasang saudara kembar. Pilihan ini sudah menarik. Hanya saja, ending terasa masih terlalu menggantung karena kisah mendadak diakhiri oleh penulis dengan alur yang lebih cepat daripada awal cerita. Ada akhir yang belum diceritakan untuk beberapa tokoh penting yang menjadi benang merah dalam pencarian sepasang saudara kembar tersebut.

Keseluruhan isi novel Anomali 11/7 ini membuat pembaca seperti diajak berkenala menerobos ruang dan waktu yang beragam. Setelah selesai membaca roman ini, pembaca akan merasa mengenal banyak tokoh-tokoh maya dengan pribadi-pribadi yang mudah teringat. Kisah di dalamnya bukan saja tentang pencarian, tapi juga tentang agama, nasionalisme, dan budaya. Semuanya dirangkai dengan utuh.

Mengenal Diri Sendiri

Bagiku, sastra adalah media yang menyenangkan untuk mengembangkan atau menghidupkan imajinasi. Terkadang aku mendapati diriku puas sendiri setelah berkunjung ke dunia yang berisi berbagai macam cerita itu, tapi terkadang juga dihinggapi rasa melankolis aneh yang menyenangkan.Adakah kamu mengerti dengan apa yang kukatakan? Kukira tidak. Tak apa. Kamu memang butuh waktu untuk memahaminya. (seperti kata Suhubudi dalam Bilangan Fu).

Kau tahu, imajinasi adalah tempat tak terbatas dimana aku bisa mengenali diriku. Aku ini memang buta. Aku ini memang tuli. Aku tak perasa. Aku memang bisa melihat dunia, bisa mendengar dunia, dan juga merasakannya, tapi, melihat diriku sendiri aku tak mampu. Mendengar suaraku sendiri tak bisa. Merasakan diriku sendiri bisa, walaupun sekedar merasakannya. Sastralah yang biasanya memberiku jalan untuk mengenalku. Setelah melalui sebuah jalan panjang, di titik final ternyata yang kudapati adalah diriku sendiri.

Seringkali aku bisa mendadak tak suka dengan sebuah novel jika aku tak suka endingnya. Ending yang tak kusuka ini adalah sebuah gambaran yang bertolak belakang dengan apa yang kuharapkan. Biasanya, obyeknya adalah karakter yang kusukai. Jika sesuatu yang buruk berakhir pada diri karakter itu, aku akan mendadak tak menyukai ceritanya. Atau bukunya sekalian. Sekalian juga penulisnya.

Metropolis berakhir dengan matinya Johan Al. Lalu aku mengutuki buku itu setelah selesai membacanya.

Burung-Burung Manyar berakhir dengan matinya Larasati, yang menyebabkan Larasati tak bersatu dengan Teto. Lalu aku mengutuki buku itu setelah selesai membacanya.

Bilangan Fu berakhir dengan matinya Parang Jati. Lalu aku mengutuki buku itu setelah selesai membacanya. Sekaligus juga mengutuki pengarangnya.

Biarlah aku berpikiran begitu. Barangkali aku adalah jenis orang fasis modernis yang tak bisa menyejajarkan dua hal secara berdampingan. Barangkali aku terlalu skeptis. Aku tak mengerti benar apa semua itu. Yang kutahu, Yuda yang punya sifat-sifat itu memiliki kesamaan denganku.

Baru-baru ini aku tahu kalau ternyata aku mengutuki buku-buku itu bukan tanpa alasan. Justru ternyata aku menikmati pengutukan itu. Aku menikmati titik dimana aku merasa kecewa dengan akhir cerita yang sudah disusun dari lembaran-lembaran yang panjang hingga menjadi begitu tebal itu. Itu adalah sebuah hasil yang kudapat dari berimajinasi. Itu adalah hasil yang kudapat dari membaca. Itu adalah caraku menikmati sebuah cerita. Ya, dengan cara begitulah rupanya aku menemukan sense sebuah cerita.

Budayakan membaca sejak dini ^^