As an archive and a reminder to myself that I actually do have at least one good writing worthy of comment both bad and good; here are the reviews I could find:
Phew, this is a short story I took some time to digest. But I like the language. I like the detailed and interesting scenes, which were infamiliar to me but I learned from them. I like the naughtiness imagined through a language that perhaps when used by other people, might not be very polite. Sometimes I think the characters should have been better in Bali rather than in Yogyakarta. A lot of "what-if's" in this story. Similar to Kau Kopikoku, the idea in this story is unique. Coffee dregs which no one would have thought to spun into a tale, made me imagine many things when turned into a short story. But if Nabila Najwa was to write a book, I think it would take me centuries to finish her writing. Her style of writing sort of strays from the concept of a typical Fixi book, which are more casual reads. But there's nothing wrong in learning new things. Right?
2) You can read the beautifully long, whole review dedicated to my short story by clicking the link here.
In a nutshell, this short story has an interesting emotional voice, channeled with shocks and an effort in poetic writing about same-sex love which sediments in the soul like "cethu". The protagonist is a girl from a rich family who studied medicine in Yogyakarta, meeting an Indonesian partner who opened her eyes to seeing the culture of Yogya and the beautiful things associated within.
Do I really need to translate this? :p
Cethu I feel is one of the "heavy" short stories in the Kopi anthology. This writing by Nabila Najwa needs time to sip and understand. However all that effort is needed a little to understand the love spell mantra which was tried to be conveyed.
Perhaps another short story that is quite hard to read (after Luwak dan Kretek by Ridhwan Saidi), the writer tries to bring readers through the city of Yogyakarta and accompany Cethu, a type of coffee mixed in with charcoal block.
Honestly, eventhough I have read the story three time I still could not truly grasp the story in Cethu. Is it the remains of love from far? Is it a soliloquy of unrequited feelings? Is is a dream fragment of someone on a high?
The writing style reminds me of Ophan Bunjos (Ghost Writer), the author of Kontrol Histeria and also BIN. In Indonesian language - as the first background was an area in that land over the seas. I could not review further about this, but I can say the flow and arrangement of the short story - about the life of a doctor makes us nod, become silent , read, nod and focus again.
A story of... A story of... okay I fail at this one.
Comment: language, plot only understandable by coffee people. And I am not a coffee person. And maybe I only read it once. But the setting in the story is beautiful, I could feel that.
The memory of a girl who studied medicine before, in Indonesia. Full of metaphors and flowery lingo which left me "blur" in understanding the short story.
What I can summarize, is that the story is filled with metaphors, flowery lingo of which a level 1 reader might find hard to understand the intent of the writer. But what I can say is that the story is of a girl who studied medicine in Indonesia, specializing in the research and treatment of venereal diseases. She has a rebellious mother and the girl is a smoker!
And cethu the writer mentioned I did not quite grasp as well. I have vainly tried to imagine it but failed. Maybe after this I need to travel to Indonesia to find out what is cethu. Overall, I think it is a brilliant short story! Congratulations to the writer.
In conclusion? Who cares for a conclusion, this is the kind of fiction I want to surf the imagination and the beauty of the word strings. I read it 3-4 times, to understand this short story.
Perhaps many are clueless to what exactly is this cethu thing. Some call it 'cethe coffee'. I also don't know how to pronounce it but it is one of the famous types of coffee in Indonesia. There is a special way of making this cofee. Especially when the coffee dregs are allowed to sediment in the cup's base. Even when you search on Google, the cethu dregs could be mixed with water and milk for 'nyethu' or also called 'nyethe': as explained in the short story. Nyethu is considered "a must have" for hanging out while drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. To nyethu, you only need to smear or rub the cigarette sticks with the coffee dregs, that's all. About the short story? It tells of the memory of someone during their studies. What the person does, everything. An addiction that could not be discarded.
THANK YOU so much to all the reviewers. This has been a good writing and translating exercise after so long; good motivation too. I guess I should start writing again for reals.
P/S: I like bad reviews too. Give them to me.