I have stopped reading Malay novels for a few years because the ones I stumbled into shared pretty much the same, non-interesting theme.
- women get raped, forgives their rapist and marries them
- women get physically abused by a man and needs another Romeo to save her out of the mess
- women can’t solve their own problems and had to wait for someone to die before conflicts resolve
That was until I came across this book.
I have to admit, I knew this writer from secondary school and I was honestly very surprised to know that she published her book in Bahasa Malaysia. Birsilah or BC as we know her then, was always someone I looked up to secretly for her strong grasp in the English language. She writes and speak (although very little) like poetry – people in the 16th century would have mistaken her as Shakespeare himself. A woman Shakespeare!
And boy am I glad to have read this book. Its an uh-may-zing book. I define a Malay novel as amazing when I could imagine it come alive in many colours. Meaning, although the main character is a Nabila, if Japan was to make a movie out of her book, this Nabila can be a Nanako or even a Shilpa in India. Even better, a Katniss in Hollywood.
It’s been a while since I allowed pure fantasy to envelope itself around me. Its like time travelling to the time of The Never Ending Story or Fantaghiro & The Cave of the Golden Roses – that sort of fantasy. As opposed to the more popular ones these days of sorcery, vampire and werewolves. Most importantly, I love how she portrays the women in the story as strong and intelligent – in a realistic way. Where like real people, the characters have their positive traits and also flaws which need fixing. Being Human, that’s what it is. Evil people did not die instantly from a brain tumour or heart attack (thank god!) but only after a fair and gruesome fight.
Cynical, sceptical yet cute and humorous dialogues/monologues were plenty. In fact, it made me wonder as well of how ‘cacing tanah mengawan’. LOL. Plot twists and ‘secrets’ were dished out bit by bit in every chapter … building up this momentum of making me want to keep turning the pages to find out more about what is going on. Smart writing technique, kan??
Glitches? There were a few references which sounded familiar to being in Malacca (asam pedas, selat melaka) which made me doubt if it was Subang Jaya at all. Boleh je kan makan asam pedas in Subang.. he he. Or did I miss something, somewhere regarding where this crash actually took place? Yup, maybe. And secondly if I switch off my medical logic, perhaps I wouldn’t have to think too much about the length of divorce and … the baby bump. Ha ha ha.
Overall, it is still an awesome book. I would rate it as 4 stars out of 5. I really hope that more people could read it and if ever there was a movie production of it, I am looking forward to see who plays the role of Nabila’s handsome brother with very beautiful eyes. *drool*