02 December 2013
Padang Bulan (the first novel of the Padang Bulan Double Stories)
This first story of the double—Padang Bulan—still talks about how people are stuck in terrible and invaluable situations and insist on their dreams and wishes. It starts with a young girl named Enong—later becomes Ikal’s friend—whose father dies suddenly in the middle of their family’s poor condition and starvation. Enong, having dreams to master English language and become an English teacher, sadly has to face a condition in which she seems to lose all of her dreams and must take the family’s responsibility of being the breadwinner. So, she struggles to get a job, fails, tries again until she eventually become the first female tin mineworker.
However, this story is actually not about Enong, it’s still about Ikal—so that’s why you may feel uncomfortable with the falling narrative of Enong at the end of the story—. It seems like Hirata only wants to represent Enong as the prologue of his own story. Unfortunately, Enong’s story is quite inspirative here rather than his own ridicolous love/jealous saga.
So, what’s the actual story? After having quarrel with his father because his father won’t give his bless to his relationship with a girl named A Ling, Ikal leaves home and chooses A Ling instead. Unfortunately, A Ling leaves home days after their last meeting and the rumor has that she has a relationship with another man and soon will get married. Ikal feel irked and jealous, asking: how can she turn her back on me and choose another man? Ikal can’t except that and he promises that he will beat that man in any game so that A Ling will come back to him. Jealousy and desperation bring him to insanity and misery of love that he does many stupid things and ends up with ridiculous—if not horrible— actions. But at the end, all those loses and harms and stupid actions are to no avail.
The story is not as so special as Laskar Pelangi or Sang Pemimpi or my favorite, Edensor. But it has still the peculiarity and characteristic of Andrea Hirata: genius, funny, silly, smart, detail in every single character, feeling, thought, and now he’s very much critical. I still love this novel, and I take it as smart entertainment.
Writer : Andrea Hirata
Year : 2010
Language : Indonesian