The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

the mysterious flameAmnesia is never a good thing to begin with. Especially losing your episode memory. Giambattista Bodoni couldn’t remember anything. Who his name was, who his wife was, who he was, everything was erased. He felt like he was floating in fog, and he couldn’t find his way out. It may be your usual amnesia story, except that Yambo (that is what everyone calls him, and I will continue to refer to him as Yambo as typing¬†Giambattista is much more complicated) remembered passages for almost every book that he has read before in his life.

It’s funny because this book alludes to so many books that I’ve read before. I nearly laughed out loud when I came across Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Moby Dick‘s famous opening line in the book. Of course, since I’ve only started reading heavy literature three years ago, I don’t get all of the jokes inside this book.

Continue reading

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

cover-1Q84To begin things with things, I have the tendency to pronounce the title of this book as ‘I Q Eighty Four’ instead of ‘One Q Eighty Four’. The title itself can obviously mean many things in the book. Of course, the reason for the book title is given half way through the first book (yes, it is a trilogy.) It is made pretty clearly that IQ84 stands as a name for the world that Anomame (the main character of this book) has stumbled on. It is to remind her that the world is no longer the 1984 that she had known. But this also alludes something else. Many critics had said that 1Q84 rivals George Orwell’s 1984, being like a parallel Asian literature form of it. It can be observed that 1984 has been alluded many times in the book. It is clear that Haruki Muakami loves putting reference to other writers in his book. I remember laughing out loud when Charles Dickens was mentioned. The memory of suffering to read his Great Expectations hit me really hard.

Continue reading

The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

the year of hareSo, you’re a journalist who lives in a world that’s slowly dissolving into black and white. You barely love you wife anymore, and you’re starting to hate the job that you had used to love so much. You’re being pestered to sell your boat that you have worked so long to buy, and you hate it. And now here you are, driving along with a fellow college who happens to be a photographer and referred to nothing else in the novel, arguing about your destination on whether you should go spend the night in Heinola or Helsinki and then suddenly you hear a thump on the car that the photographer was driving. When you finally stumble out of the car, you see it. The hare who was lying huddled towards the sidewalk, it’s leg clearly broken.

When Vatanen found the hare, his whole life changed in a instant. The hare itself could be said to be a catalyst. With the hare, he dropped everything from his old life. He literally walked away from his old life. Like, when the photographer friend of his wanted him to hurry up and get in the car, he just walked away with the hare into the forest to help setting its leg up. So since the photographer is naturally a bad tempered kind of guy, he drove away. (Only to slightly regret it later.) However, Vatanen didn’t exactly just drop off from the face of the Earth. He did everything cleanly a little bit later, like get his money, sell that boat that he has been trying to keep for ages, and end things with his wife and job, but that was later.

Continue reading

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

beauty_is_a_wound

“One afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty one years.”

Beauty is a Wound. Cantik itu Luka. Just like Herman Melville’s opening line from Moby Dick, Beauty is a Wound has captured me as a reader right from the very start. ¬†This line has promoted a sense of mystery, and a sense of suspense, and it has propelled me on the book. Beauty is a Wound revolves around the history of Indonesia, with a touch of fantasy. Nominated for the Man Brooker awards and being a close finalist, this book is both quality and quantity.

The story follows the story of Dewi Ayu, a whore–yes, a whore–and how both her and the characters interconnected to her fell into a tragedy. Dewi Ayu is described to be a very beautiful lady at first glance, although she has a lot of wit that comes with the beauty. A whore isn’t the perfect “Mary Sue character”, and Dewi Ayu has her flaws. But she has escaped death, and survived through a war in the Dutch, the Second World war, and Indonesa’s independence. I’ve known the lengths both human and animal would go to just to survive, and Dewi Ayu becoming a whore just to be able to grab a chance in living a life of luxury to escape the concentration camp is just one story in millions of stories.

Continue reading

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago

the-gospelWhen I was small, and was on my way to do my first Communion, I was always taught that Jesus was The Savior of all of us. That He had been crucified to save humanity from the sins they had done. The Jesus that I know was born human, and when He grew up, He spread love around the world, and now the followers call themselves as The Christians. The Jesus that I know will open up His arms and welcome children, and all people would like to join His path of redemption. The Jesus that I know is also willing to forgive all of our wrongful.

Although I don’t spend lots of time reading the Bible, I know some important parts that happened in the Old ¬†Testament, from having joined in several church masses throughout the years. The Bible is alluded in many famous literary works, like Carrie by Stephen King. The Bible is said as the most known book on the planet who had given a hard impact on human-kind. My family are not exactly a very religious family, yet we still follow some of our religious obligations. Religion activities are a part of my life since I was little. However, since last year, my mother has step a bit back and given me some freedom to seek God with my own way. Thus, I become a seeker and a believer at the same time.

Continue reading