These past few months, I have read several books from Indonesian authors while doing my thesis. You know, I absolutely did not want to spend my precious time only by being crazy for thinking of my thesis, so I asked a friend of mine, my walking library, the most bookworm friend I ever have (I always be the most bookworm before I met her and I believe she may marry a library if possible), Grace or I always call Gege or Tante Deis. She is also a blogger who posts all books she has read with many smart but not complicated comments. If you are interested to read her posts, here is her blog.
I would love to talk about the books of Indonesian authors in this post because I got something very different from the authors. They are woman and they have this creative minded that not all people may bless with. I am not a fan of Indonesian author, unless you are talking about Clara Ng, she is the goddess of Indonesian woman author in this era for me.
First author is Ika Natassa. I have read her A Very Yuppy Wedding (2007) and Divortiare (2008). These two books are in not-so-good level for the story and the characters in it, but in a-very-smart level for the conversation. Why is it so? Because, I think, the author is lack of idea in making story and creating new characters. These two books have similarity in plot and the characteristics of characters, which is not so good for the readers, especially me who always want to get something new and not monotone.
The story of her books are always about a banker woman with an insane shopaholic nature meets a super-rich-too-perfect-to-be-true man. The plot is so easy to guess that I think I do not need to read it till the last page, but I keep reading it till the last because the conversation is awesomely smart. She has something ticklish and smart in every conversation in her books and I cannot stop myself for admiring the way she bursts out her super creative skill in communication that she pours to her books.
I guess she cannot move on from making the main character as a banker woman because she herself is a banker woman who understand for a hundred percent how a banker woman lives her life and she cannot make something new for her novel because she herself is actually just a lucky girl for being Editor’s Choice of Cosmopolitan Indonesia magazine in 2008. I said so because she still cannot do something new for her works in writing and keep telling the readers same story with different name for the characters.
The second writer is aliaZalea. Yes, with big Z in the middle, but small A for the initial. I have read her Celebrity Wedding (September 2011), Crash Into You (March 2011), and Dirty Little Secret (2014). I categorize these three books of her as good enough. I like the way of the author in presenting the story; it is actually unique because every character in every book is related to each other, but it does not look so unless you read her novel completely since The Celebrity Wedding until Dirty Little Secret.
As well as Ika Natassa, aliaZalea also has good skill in making awesome conversation in her every work. It has crunchy narration and she gives different plot for every book which makes them even more awesome for me. Unfortunately, aliaZalea has a habit I name “I Believe The Main Character(s) Should Be Rich”. Yes, just like Ika Natassa, I think aliaZalea loves to make the main character of her works as rich people. I know that I cannot limit the creativity of them, but I also can show them that happiness they offer to the readers seems based on wealthy. I do not like such story because even in fairy tale, not all the princesses born as the Royal Highness, so why do they need to give their readers an idea of happiness belongs to the wealthy people only?
The third writer is Karla M. Nashar. I have read her Ti Amore, Tia Amoria (2011) and Love, Curse, and Hocus-Pocus (2013). I think she is my favorite among these three woman authors. Her works have the combination of good things from two others; she makes good conversation for her novels, she puts plots, she makes her works unique and stunning, and the main character is not born as the Royal Highness.
I do not even know about her works until last week Grace lent me Ti Amo, Tia Amoria. The story is beautiful, the plot is stunning and making me cannot wait for the author reveals the mystery in her works, and she knows how to make sweet, but yummy conversation. There is a cute romance humor in it also and it makes the story even more beautiful for me. I like the way the author develops the story and makes the reader wondering in every chapter until she reveals the secret in the unexpected part of it.
Unfortunately, the author lost in her love to Italy. She cannot find any other place in this planet Earth for her works or, at least, just use one of the cities in Indonesia, do not fly too far to Italy just to make a good story. I know that an experience staying in new place, such as Italy, will last longer in mind, but it is not an appropriate reason, especially for readers who always crave for something new from their favorite author, to set all of stories in Italy. I also do not think Italy men is so sexy that the author cannot stop herself making them as the main character.
The similarities among these three woman authors are they have a habit talking what they know only, they make the main character of their work too perfect as human being (though it is just fiction), and they have been hypnotized by the beauty of happily forever after ending, but I give them all my thumbs for using English well in the right timing and do not forget to use the English joke also, which not many people may understand how funny it is.
Since I have claimed Clara Ng as the goddess of Indonesian woman author in this era, I think I need to tell you about the differences of Clara Ng, from my point of view, with the other three woman authors above. First, Clara Ng never makes similar characteristic for every character in her every single work. It is not an easy thing to squeeze your brain in creating many kinds of unique characteristic, especially for her who has been making for more than 20 books in Metropop, Chicklit, and even Children category since 2002.
Second, she always has something to tell to her readers. She is not afraid of giving something new, something like talking about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender), which is not every Indonesian writer brave enough to talk about. She always gives a new theme for every work of hers that make her fan, especially me, cannot wait for her next work. She does not stay in her comfort zone to tell her readers only what she knows now and not try to find some new materials to develop her skill, which are not done by the three woman authors above.
Third, she knows how to make smart, but not difficult to understand conversation. It may be a bit boring for those who read her work for the first time because in some of her works she rises difficult themes, such as Multiple Personality Disorder, LGBT, marriage that people always think as the gate of truly happiness, and so on, which later makes her need to make complicated conversation between characters, but does not make her readers feel dizzy afterward because it is easy, but not tuppenny. However, I believe everyone who loves reading knows it is only beautiful, smart, and stunning word she used for the conversation in all her works.
Fourth, she does not offer her readers a grandiose expectation. Most of novels nowadays, in Metropop and Chicklit category, always offer a sweet story with a happily ever after ending. Clara Ng does not so. Yes, she offers you a plot with a super sweet romance, super silly joke, and another super duper thingy you could find in a novel, but readers must hold their breath in the last chapters of some works of hers because the main point of a novel is not always the happy ending. As her fan, I always adore how she makes an unpredictable ending for her work that makes many people who think they are the greatest and know-everything-about-a-good-book-should-have-or-should-not readers feel cranky.
Well, I believe some of you say that I judge them (the three woman authors I talk about before Clara Ng) too much. However, all I have written above is just a temporary judgment because I realize that I am not reading all works of each author yet. My opinion about their works may change or stand still, but I do really hope something new for their next works or, at least, they do something to be no longer stuck in their comfort zone because they already have the skill to be as good as Clara Ng.