Read Indonesian Short Stories Month

As I have already mentioned before in my It’s Monday post, Mel U of The Reading Life and I are planning to host a special event in August. August is a special month for Indonesia, the month where we gained our freedom from colonialism. Indonesian Independence Day takes place every August 17.

Last year, Knowing about Indonesian Independence day, Mel U did something related to reading as his way to honor my country’s Independence Day. He read several short stories written by Indonesian authors. I was touched by what he had done because he isn’t Indonesian and yet he did something to honor the most historical day in Indonesia. Mel U lives in Philippine, one of Indonesia neighbors.

Here are the shorts he had read last year:

Early this month, he asked me whether I want to do another short story read event this coming August… I didn’t take part in the event last year because of the schedule I had back then. This year, I decided to co-host this event together with Mel.

I know that not many people ever read stories from Indonesia, I think this is a good opportunity to let people know about Indonesian Literature. So…If you are interested, come and join the ride 🙂

I have done some searching through internet to help you choose some short stories you can read. Here they are

  • Nerd in Writing is a blog that specialized in writing short stories (and movie related posts). Wulan, a young friend of mine who used to be my student, has a dream to be a professional writer. She showed her talent in writing stories with unpredictable ending in her blog. Although the stories do not have Indonesian atmosphere, but she is after all an Indonesian. Go and have a look. My favorite, so far, is What Bridget Did
  • Gestapu. I found this collection of short stories in pdf file. The link is here.

Gestapu will be my first book for this event. It intrigues me because it is based on one of the most tragic incidents in my country, The Abortive Communist Coup of 30th September 1965. We, Indonesian called that incident as G30S-PKI.

  • Darkening Sky by Kipandjikusmin. I found the pdf file of this controversial story in this site.

The controversy over this short story is obviously not a simple issue as it involves not only religious matters but also variables found in the society. Basically, the Moslems’ strongly negative reaction to the story is based on their belief that the personification of God is a violation of Islam. Kipandjikusmin was considered to have done even more harm by writing in a style referred to as sembarangan, that is, a style in which an author presents serious matters in a casual and careless manner.

As a Muslim, I am curious on how bad this book is. Is it really insulting my religion or not.

Once you have finished reading any short stories by Indonesian writers, please kindly share what you think about the story either in the comment form or in your blog (leave the link in the comment form or pingback this post).

Have a great reading month and hope to read some reviews from you all. Thank you so much (Banyak terima kasih – in Indonesian language)


40 Comments Add yours

  1. JoV says:

    Mel had asked about to read for Malaysian Independence day as well and I’ll work on a introductory posts soon. Maybe I should read something from an Indon author and “Of bee and mist” by Erick Setiawan came to mind and I have it on my shelf. Selamat Hari Merdeka in advance!

    1. Novroz says:

      Mel is really active in promoting short story isn’t it 😉
      I’ve heard about that book but never knew what is it about. It would be nice if you can join in Jove heard about that book but never knew what is it about. It would be nice if you can join in Jo

  2. kelly says:

    Oh no, I was going to do her, but I see it’s already been reviewed 😦 I have to find another story.

    1. Novroz says:

      It doesn’t matter if someone had reviewed it, you can still read it and share your opinion on the short. Different people always has different opinion eventhough the story is the same

      1. kelly says:

        Oh, great :D. When shall I post?

        1. Novroz says:

          On August at any date you like 🙂
          Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, Kel … you really made my day *hug*

          1. Novroz says:

            Thank you Kel 🙂
            Will visit your blog now

  3. si_ulil says:

    This just made my day!!! Thank you so much for even considering me to be on the list! Thank you so very, very much, Novroz and Mel U!

    1. Novroz says:

      You are welcome Lan 🙂
      You are after all a talented writer in the making…I know you can be a full writer one day, remember Stephen King and his struggle. Keep up your work and hope more people will read your story.

      I am also hoping that will join along…try reviewing a book (or short in this case) is not that difficult.

      1. si_ulil says:

        You know, I just realized something! I’ve read so many short stories written by Dewi Dee Lestari! So I can actually comment here about her works, right?? Yay!

        So far Dee has published 3 short-story-compilation books, and I’ve read all of them. The newest one is Madre, which consists of 13 shorts. There is one short titled: Semangkok Acar untuk Cinta dan Tuhan (A Bowl of Pickle for Love and God) that stood out above the rest. It told a story about someone (identity unknown) who was asked by a journalist about his/her view on God and love, and he/she uses a bowl of pickle as an interesting metaphor. The story was so simple yet so….spot on. I was left speechless and smiling at the same time.

        I’m SO bad at reviewing things, so I think you should read it yourself to know what I’m talking about because I don’t think I’m giving Dee enough credit that she deserves here 🙂

        1. Novroz says:

          Hahaha…yes you are bad in reviewing. Go check Mel’s review to see proper review. Or check one of mine. Reviewing is part of learning how to write.

          If you can’t, then I take that one as a review…tho I can’t imagine anything from it.mine.

  4. Asop says:

    Ouwh, ini ternyata. 😀

    1. Novroz says:

      Iya ini 🙂
      Ayo ikutan Sop…kita promosiin buku Indonesia

  5. Caroline says:

    I will try to join you, I already said so, just have to find out which story I’m going to read.

    1. Novroz says:

      Yaaii…I am looking forward for your thought as you always make such great review even though the book isn’t something you like. I envy your ability.

      1. Caroline says:

        Thanks, Novia, you are so kind. I do like your reviews a lot as well. They give me a really good feeling for the book.

    1. Novroz says:

      Thank you, Caroline 🙂

      1. Mel u says:

        Caroline-thanks so much for joining in-I posted a link to your superb review on my blog today-you picked a very good story!-I now follow your blog.

  6. dhitzunako says:

    My favorite Indonesian short story: Dilarang Mencintai Bunga-bunga by Kuntowijoyo.

    I’ve read it in my Junior High Indonesian Language Textbook and awed by its plot. It seemed like an ordinary slice of life story with a touch of mystery: which is my fav combo.

    1. Novroz says:

      Can you make a review out of it, Dhitz 🙂

      Would love to read more about it and you can also share it to everyone who participated in this event…tho not that many 😉

  7. lifewith4cats says:

    well I won’t be able to do a review. But because August is an important month for indonesia I just searched the words Indonesia short story folk tales. Then I read a story about how the land was divided between two sons. The story was a lot like the American fairy tale of sleeping beauty. I didnt know Indonesia had tales like that. It was posted by the author of a blog called Indonesian writers. I didnt look at the whole blog. I just read the story. Happy August!!

    1. Novroz says:

      There are sooo many folk tales in Indonesia…I don’t even remember them all.

      Thank you so much for taking your time to read one of them and shared the link. I will try to look it up later.

  8. Mel u says:

    I just posted on another story for our event. “The Kitchen” by Lily Farid. It is a powerful and beautiful story about the lives of three women, a mother, her daughter, and the family helper all of whom work together in a catering business. I really liked it a lot.

    1. Novroz says:

      I edited your comment a little Mel 🙂
      The short sounds interesting, will read your review soon.

  9. Mel u says:

    I wanted to share a good resource for our event-there are 16 short stories by Indonesian authors, including some of the top figures in contemporary Indonesian Literature

  10. Roberto says:

    Hello! I’m back to Italy from Singapore, where I bought some few books about Indonesia – a country that I find really fascinating (and where I plane to go next November), I’ve just begun learning Bahasa Indonesia and I hope, in the future, to be able to read novels and tales directly in this language. For the time being, I would be pleased to read some Indonesian authors: what writers and titles – already translated – would you recommend to start with (I can read English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese)? Thank you for your very interesting web site! Roberto

    1. Novroz says:

      Hello Roberto…how nice of you to drop by to my blog and being so interested with Indonesian literature.

      I don’t know if you can find this book or not,but do try to find it. Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata tells a story of 10 very poor kids trying to get proper education. I really love that book, take a look of this link to know more about it> Here

      You can also try a free one, try Gestapu,it is an anthology of short stories about the tragic event in September 1965. here is the download link> Here

      If you do try them,please let me know what you think about those books 🙂

  11. Mel u says:

    Here is a comment I received from Reda Guadiamo author of “Cik Giok”, one of the featured stories for Indonesian Short Stories Week-I wanted to share it with all in the event-again I thank all those who joined this year.

    Dearest Mel,

    Again, thank you for posting my short story. That, in fact, was my first short story ever published in our national newspaper, KOMPAS. In 2008, I was invited by Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, to read and discuss a book of mine, Bisik-Bisik (Whispers). This mini book, contains 27 short stories, none of them have narration & description. Just dialogues. The idea is giving the freedom to the readers to put, build a character based on the given dialogues.

    Here’s one of them that I read in UWRF, Bali. It gained a lot of comment at that time, :D. The audience loved it.

    So, voila…. hope you have some time to read SUNDAY MORNING.

    Thank you and have a nice day, Mel!

    God Bless You,


    Reda Gaudiamo
    “Dearest brothers and sisters let us sing a hymn, just one verse… Lord lead, Lord lead, Hand of God lead me ..”
    “Next time you go to church don’t wear trousers.”
    “It’s not polite.”
    “Says who?”
    “Says the church.”
    “The church, the church building?“
    “So says everyone who’s in church!“
    “I faithfully follow .. Because God leads me.”
    “Ma, there are plenty of others wearing trousers.”
    “They’re men.”
    “Ah, not always.”
    “Next week don’t wear trousers again.”
    “But I only have one skirt. Surely I can’t wear it every Sunday.”
    “So, make some. Buy some. “
    “Is there really a rule that women must wear skirts every time to church?”
    “Yes. “
    “Everywhere. And especially in our family. “
    “Dearest brothers and sisters, let us bow our heads and pray…”
    “When you pray don’t bend your body like a boiled prawn. “
    “It’s not polite.”
    “Ah, it’s the same as bowing. “
    “It’s different. The way you sit makes you look like you’d rather not pray, or worship.”
    “Says who?”
    “Which people.”
    “Well, people who see you bent over like a boiled prawn.”
    “Come on, sit up straight! “
    “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ..”
    “Huh, what is it?”
    “Why are you like that? “
    “Like what?”
    “Those eyes of yours. Close them when you pray. Tight.”
    “When I tell you something it’s always ah, ah, ah. “
    “Give us this day our daily bread … “
    “Shut your eyes. “
    “Why Ma?”
    “Because that’s how the rule goes. “
    “The rule where? “
    “In pictures people pray with eyes open. They even look up at the sky. “
    “That’s pictures. In church it’s different. Where do you want to look? The sky’s covered by the ceiling. Come on, shut your eyes.“
    “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us..”
    “Hey, shut your eyes. “
    “I can’t .”
    “Why can’t you? What’s difficult about shutting your eyes? “
    “I don’t want to.”
    “You have to.”
    “Ah. “
    “Ah, ah, all the time. The prayer’s half over, almost at the amen and you’re still staring. Shut your eyes!”
    “Why really won’t you shut your eyes? No-one has a problem shutting their eyes when they pray. “
    “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…”
    “It makes me sleepy Ma. I’ll just fall asleep.”
    “Sleepy? Fall asleep? Huh, that’s dangerous. “
    “Really, why?”
    “For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever..”
    “That means you lack faith. “

    1. Novroz says:

      Hi Mel…what a great honour to be emailed by a real author like that 🙂 I am proud of you. Hope more authors do the same.

      I enjoy the story a lot. The irony is so transparant, the mother miss the pray completely due to all her complaints to the child. She should have told her child everything before they went to Church. Poor child.

      Thank you for sharing this with me, Mel.

      1. Mel u says:

        next year maybe we can find a way to Reda Gaudiamo to give us publicity for our event-our event meant a lot to me

        1. Novroz says:

          That’s a good idea 🙂
          Since she had sent you an email, that means you can email her back,just don’t lose her email

  12. I am very very happy finding this website of great staffs. I will translate some of these stories. I think thses will be very helpful for Bangladeshi readers.

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