Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door) by Sekar Ayu Asmara

A 9 year old boy was badly abused by their parents, a successful sculptor with a very beautiful wife had the most perfect life anyone can imagine, a reporter trying to write about the life of a man in an asylum. Three main characters connected in a way you can never imagine.

I saw Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door) by Sekar Ayu Asmara about two months ago but I waited till August to read it as a way to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day which is on 17 August. I saw the movie trailer back in 2009 (but I haven’t seen it yet) and never knew that that movie was based on this book. The book was on discount area, it;s a shame to see this book in that area. It shows how Indonesia still has lack of appreciation toward thriller books 😦

Writing review of this book is very difficult because I don’t know how to start it. To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish the book but something pushed me forward as the plot finally took the right direction. Judging from Pintu Terlarang, I can say that Sekar Ayu Asmara is a good writer but her way of delivering something is a bit odd and somewhat boring…at least at the beginning. She kept using the same sentences over and over and over again, I know her intention was to built strong emphasized of those particular parts but same sentences in one page was a bit TOO much. In the end, I skipped reading those sentences. Apart from that repeated sentences, she could built an interesting crossing between three stories.

The book began with a boy who kept saying that he is a naughty child, my age is nine. Both my parents call me a bad luck child. The boy was trying to eat his food but something made him throw up. What he did brought the wrath of his parents, they were shouting at him, beat him up and even forced him to swallow a cockroach. We got to see the life of this unfortunate boy in between the other two stories.

The story shifted to Gambir, a newcomer sculptor who had just sold all his collection called Maternal Mood. People said that his statue seemed alive. He was fully supported by his beautiful wife Talyda. The life of Gambir and Talyda was told in many repeated sentences that bored me to death, one of them is

His feeling blooms, filling his entire soul. He loves her so much. He cares for her so deeply. He will never hurt her feeling, or her heart. He never stops thanking God for giving him such perfect wife like Talyda.

He kept repeating those words over and over again and it annoyed me so much. Not only those sentences, there were many other sentences like that. Once I ignored it, the book became more interesting.

I hate Talyda, I hate her character so bad. I have never hated a character before like I hate her. She is the kind of woman who is only beautiful in the outside but rotten in the inside. Everything she said and done only made me hate her more. She is a hypocrite under angelic face.

As the story progressed, we learned that Gambir didn’t have life as perfect as he imagined it. Gambir had dark secret that made his arts seemed alive. He also had a forbidden door in his art studio, a door never to be talked about. Talyda prohibited him from saying anything about that door.

Behind his back, Talyda was having a series of affairs.

Apart from the repetitive sentences, this story also shared too much details on clothes by great designer or high quality perfume and stuffs, it shared too much extravagant life…the details bored me.

The third story was about a journalist named Ranti. She was a good journalist who often got carried away with what she was writing. She was planning to write about Schizophrenia but the head of the asylum she was visiting as a source led her to a man who had been in the asylum since he was 9 years. He was the victim of intense child abuse. What he did to end his suffering was very brutal. The head doctor was not sure whether the man could be cured or not.

The three stories were told in between each other. We were forced to figure out what really going on there. It was easy to find the connection between Ranti and the boy but where Gambir fits in was a bit difficult to guess.

The first 70 pages was a struggle for me, the only interesting part to read was about the boy. It was heartbreaking to read about him, but the other two stories were nagging too long. BUT, when it got to page 80 something, things became very interesting, little by little we got to see the thriller side of the book. It gripped me so tight that I found it so hard to put down. It took 3 days to get to page 70s but it only took one night to finish the rest. I kept on reading because I wanted to know where it all lead to.

The ending was superb!! I really love it. It was the bloodiest Indonesian book I have ever read. Well, I admit I haven’t read many Indonesian books because there is just too much love story and idiotic comedy out there. Pintu Terlarang is a great fresh air. I wish I can find more like this by Indonesian writer. Despite the fact that I love the ending, the book has some parts that prevented it from being amazing book.

I don’t know whether the book has been translated into English or not but you can find the movie with English subtitles in the store.

I will see and review the movie tomorrow. From the trailer, it’s a bit different with the book but I think the difference is understandable. Just wait tomorrow 😉

Book Details:

Title: Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door)
Author: SEkar Ayu Asmara
Language: Indonesian
Pages: 227 pages
Publisher: Pt. Andal Krida Nusantara

12 thoughts on “Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door) by Sekar Ayu Asmara

  1. That’s a rare thing, a book which drags like this for 70 pages and then turns into something gripping. a bit risky to be honest. I wonder how many readers will never get past page 70. I could imagine it will work well as a movie. We will see. 🙂

    1. Well…maybe it’s just me who thinks the first 70pages are a boring beginning, the others might not think so.
      I just don’t like reading the over rich detail of Talyda’s clothes, like she was wearing a Donna Karan dress with bla bla bla.

      The movie is great, the director did great job changing it from book to movie

  2. Wow…. the book really does sound a bit different from the movie. Has it been printed outside of Indonesia in a translated form? It might be fun to read it and see how much the two are related, but outside of a couple of words, I’m hopeless in Indonesian…. (even with all the movies I watch, Hahaha!!). 😉

    1. I don’t think it has been translated to English yet. The book didn’t gain huge success so the chance of being translated is slim.
      Hahaha I also watch a lot of Japanese movies but still has no ability to read Novel in Japanese 😉

      The book and the movie is really different but it kinda completes each other.

    1. It is intriguing, something I rarely found in Indonesian book.

      I also prefer reading in English if the book was written in English, if possible I avoid translated book. If I want to read in Indonesia, I like reading books which are written by Indonesian writers.

      btw Ruth, do check my movie review…it’s really good for Indonesian Movie.

  3. You know that you need to hurry up and translate this book, because I now want to read it! 🙂 Why do you say that thrillers are not really appreciated in Indonesia? What are books that do sell well?

    1. hahaha unfortunately books from Indonesian to English have to be translated by native English speaker 😉

      Yup, thriller book isn’t that popular here. Young people love buying teenage romance book. There are so many books like that written by Indonesian writers…and I never read any of them

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