Celebrate the launch of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different, finally launched in Jakarta. With Kartika Jahja, Dinda Kanyadewi, Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, Jewel Topsfield, Olin Monteiro, and Vendy Methodos.
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.
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.
After warnings from local police, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2015 has had to cancel the launch of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different.
In the Age newspaper just last week this book was reviewed with the opening line: “most Australian readers of this novel will be ashamed to realise how little most of us know about Indonesia.” And the closing line: “This novel is a compelling read: the plot is unpredictable and the writing full of energy.” I agree wholeheartedly. It was a great read. It taught me so much as an Australian about one our nearest neighbours.
As the nation struggled to determine what Indonesia should look like during Reformasi and beyond, these two characters were also struggling to determine what they wanted to be. More than just a love story, this novel is very smart with a very interesting structure, going back and forth in time and mixing epistolary form of emails and text messages with chronological narration.
Love, freedom, and identity are all connected. If we have freed ourselves from a repressive regime, from unfair social norms, can we be free to be who we are? Can we break free from our own fears, from our own past? Are we free to choose what kind of person we want to be?
Menyelusuri ranah seksual di Jakarta nyaris seperti menjadi penjelajah waktu—kita bertemu orang-orang dari berbagai zaman. Ada yang mementingkan kesucian, malu, aib, kehormatan keluarga, pergaulan yang luas, ego, reputasi, atau mengenal seseorang secara seluruhnya—benak, jiwa, dan raga. Di luar dunia-dunia pribadi itu adalah kenyataan dunia yang kita bagi bersama.
My characters and I grew up under the New Order, which enforced uniformity. Just as they were graduating college and it was time for them to enter the real world, there were all these new freedoms. Now they could be different, they didn’t have to fear censorship or persecution anymore. But as the euphoria passed, they realized there was still a lot of challenges, and they still had to face their own fears and self-destructive habits. By drawing parallels between my character’s endeavors to realize themselves and Indonesia’s efforts towards democracy, I want to write a story about how to break free and be loved for who you are.
As democratic reforms swept Indonesia in the late nineties, the nation’s young generation asked themselves: what does it mean to be free? This novel is a compelling study of freedom and love, community and conformity, told with humour, sensuality and a subtly sharp political intelligence.