Cantik itu Luka [Book Review]

It’s been a while I didn’t write since my last post. A lot of things happened in between. Actually, after Still Alice I also read some novels, but Cantik itu Luka by Eka Kurniawan is the one which kinda left a big hole in my heart. *ouch* ūüôā

Before I talked about this novel, I warned you that this article is definitely¬†spoilling. This novel is also available in English, entitled “Beauty is a Wound”, and also some other languages (Japanese is the first foreign language version). This novel has reviewed by The New York Times, and even won a World Reader Award 2016. I thought there were some really promising reasons to read this novel between my extremely tumbling-apart world (dramaaa~).

Cantik itu Luka in several cover versions

Cantik itu Luka in several cover versions

First thing to say “holy brother pucker” (imitating Ross-Rachel)! ūüėÄ Eka Kurniawan has successfully stirred the readers’ feeling by its tragic and satire love story. A curse has been made by a broken-hearted evil spirit to Dewi Ayu and all of her children. As usual, love is always the main reason of all kinds of happiness yet misery. Well, this book is mostly tells about its¬†misery. Dewi Ayu is an incest “product” of Anneu and Henry Stammler who are children of Ted Stammler from different mothers. Dewi Ayu had given birth to three exceptionally beautiful daughter and one ugly (even described as malformed) last¬†daughter¬†as the¬†paradox.

The second factor which made this book very strong is its historical timeline. The time setting is placed¬†along colonial period by Dutch and Japan, then Indonesia’s independent declaration, until PKI’s (Communist Party of Indonesia) debatable history and several years after its major failure in coup d’etat trial. As we might already know that this issue has been discussed by many people whether it’s true or maybe a part of a bigger conspiration. Eka described the situation by highlighting one of the character as a comunist leader in Halimunda. By the way, Halimunda is a fictional port city¬†located somewhere in Java.

The tragedy mainly focused on Dewi Ayu’s daughter : Alamanda, Adinda, Maya Dewi, and Si Cantik. The first three of them were very beautiful that would made the entire city fall for them. But the last one was¬†very ugly, even people would run if they saw Si Cantik. The curse was somehow made them having¬†a rough life, losing true love, husband, and child in a very tragic way. I even cried when Kamerad Kliwon (one of the character involved) commited suicide, leaving his true love, wife, and a son. You got that? I said true love and wife separately.

There were a lot of crazy tragedy in this book. Eka was crazy enough to make this kind of story, really sad and dark. But I got to admit, he is brilliant! No wonder a lot of people recommended this book. Well, some said that this book is might be too vulgar, but I’m quite cool with that. Hahaha.¬†Eka also has a quite unique way to write, by the way I only read the Indonesian version. He uses casual yet kinda old style in forming sentences. You read that by yourself, I’m not really good in describing it.¬†So, if you really into novel, make sure you put this book in your top “want to read” list.

Last thing to say, to summarize this story I would say “A broken heart is the most lethal weapon”.

Other review on goodreads about Beauty is a Wound



About Pradini Puspitaningayu

a big, big, big dreamer

Posted on April 21, 2016, in Book/Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: