A story about a girl who wants to grow into an independent woman, but finds it hard to find her way. Her mother thinks a good woman is obedient and long-suffering, and her father takes advantage of such attitudes and exploits women who lead freer lifestyles. This is also a story of the bond of family under the strain of abuse. This one’s for all the girls who’ve had to find their own way, alone.
“Someplace between Respect and Desire” in Ducts, featured story of the 2016 Summer Fiction issue. The novel excerpt was read to an audience in New York’s famous KGB Lit Bar, as part of the launch party.
My confusion and alarm soon turned to fear. I felt with every cell on my skin my disadvantaged situation: I was the woman and he was the man, I was Asian and he was white, I was just another local girl and he was the dashing coveted foreigner, I was younger, less experienced, less beautiful, and I probably liked him much more than he liked me. I was afraid if I let myself believe that he also liked me, if I let down my guard and let slip that I really liked him by, for example, telling him my life story in return, I would be doubly vulnerable. I would be at real risk of getting hurt. I decided to regard his move as an attempt to relax me before bedding me.
Out there, there are obligations to meet, expectations to fulfill. Out there we live in the hours, rowing our boat on a river of cause and effect that flow mercilessly onward, but in rooms like this the hours are ours—we can do with them what we like, spray the past into the present, encase the present in a bubble, and shove the future out of the window and draw the curtains. In rooms like this Ferdian and Risa can hold each other’s hands.
“Us + Them“, in Exchanges Journal: Hysterium issue. Publication date 5 December 2015.
She eyed the sweaty strangers around them, tearing off pieces of flesh, crunching into crackers, red sauce dripping from their fingers. Every now and then a lone grain of rice or shred of onion would cling to the corner of their lips, like a lonely outcast or scapegoat, only to be obliterated with a swipe of their greasy hands.
“Incorrigibles”, in the Griffith Review: New Asia Now. Publication date 29 July 2015.
‘You know people sometimes say that you’re bad kids, troublemakers. How do you feel about that?’
‘I’ve been labelled bad since I could crawl, and I’m still alive,’ said Revo.
‘Oh my God, I’ve got a brilliant idea!’ Selin said, ‘I want to paint bad labels on your foreheads!’
Revo laughed. ‘Yes! Do it! Label me “Incorrigible”!’
“From Now on Everything will be Different”, published in issue 26 of the Asia Literary Review.
This time she burst into his world with her half-page profile in a Sunday newspaper on a page dedicated to emerging artists. It was several weeks after the corrupt president had stepped down, and the first time Rizky had heard from Julita since they had graduated from high school four years earlier.
“House on Fire”, first published in bahasa Indonesia in Koran Tempo, 15 October 2006.
Somehow I’ve known this fire would be here when I wake up, the same way I’ve known you would not.
“Puncak“, pertama muncul dalam bahasa Inggris di antologi Trash, terbitan Fixi Novo.
Banyak orang mempersiapkan diri untuk memasuki bulan Ramadan dengan memperbanyak salat, doa, dan membaca Alquran. Lain dengan Ferdian, Risa, Patar, dkk. Mereka mempersiapkan diri dengan melampiaskan nafsu berpesta, mabuk, dan teler sepuas-puasnya agar tahan puasa hura-hura selama sebulan penuh. Keseruan pesta mereka terusik ketika Lani, pacar Patar yang merupakan “cewek baik-baik” dan memiliki ayah seorang polisi, memaksa ingin bergabung.
“Us + Them“, pertama terbit di Exchanges Journal, Sabtu 5 Desember 2015.
Diliriknya wajah-wajah asing berlumur keringat di sekitarnya, menyobek sepotong daging, menggigit putus kerupuk, sambal merah menetes dari jemari. Sesekali sebutir nasi atau seiris bawang goreng tersisa di pinggir bibir mereka, bagai seorang minoritas atau kambing hitam, yang kemudian mereka enyahkan dengan sapuan tangan.
“Firdaus dari Kardus”, pertama terbit di Koran Tempo, Minggu 7 September 2014.
Demi menjauhkanku dari godaan setan, tawuran, dan kenakalan remaja lainnya, dua tahun lalu orangtuaku melumerkan tabungan mereka untuk menyelundupkanku ke sebuah sekolah swasta Islam. Aku menentang, mengambek, dan menangis.
“Sekarang Segalanya Berubah”, pertama terbit di Koran Tempo, Minggu 23 September 2012.
Itulah konfirmasi pertama yang diterimanya bahwa seseorang ternyata bisa mengarak perubahan, dan ia takkan lupa bagaimana ia mendengar bisikan Tuhan di sela derap langkah ribuan mahasiswa: ‘Kau pun bisa mengubah hidupmu.’
“Rumah Terbakar”, pertama terbit di Koran Tempo, Minggu 15 Oktober 2006.
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