Book Review: Maryam


Title: Maryam
Author: Okky Madasari
Language: Bahasa Indonesia
Format: Paperback

After her divorce, Maryam decided to go back to her home town in an island of Lombok — a place she has never set foot for so many years. Little did she know that everything there has changed, and not for the better — especially for her people.

This is the second Okky Madasari’s book I have ever read. Entrok was the first one, and this incredible author has already got my attention.

I have to admit that Maryam is not as deep as Entrok was. I did not expect it to be. I have learned that not many books would be able to live up to the level where Entrok has been. But, Maryam, obviously has a special place in my bookshelves.

Madasari daringly picked one of the most sensitive theme in Indonesia — the religious intolerance, especially to the minority groups such as (in this novel) the Ahmadiyya. It was obviously a difficult subject, and I could feel that she was tiptoeing while trying to be as factual as possible. It is hard not to offend the hardliners if she wanted to make a statement. But that’s the problem: trying to tiptoe around the subject while being factual couldn’t work. It has become somewhere in the middle.

Apart from what I have mentioned above, I love the way Madasari did not try to sugar coat the reality as well. The life of a divorcee, the cultural clashes, the filial piety, and the social responsibility was described really well in this novel. I was so absorbed in the storyline, which Madasari has made so simple — even with flashbacks.

The writing style was superb. It was flowing and it was clear and detailed. It did not try to be highbrow. yet it did not dumb down either. It was clear and informative, but it is still a very entertaining fiction. Obviously, it was a good read as I finish the whole book in one sitting while having a 12 hour flight home.

Would I recommend this book? Why wouldn’t I? I know that this one was written in Bahasa Indonesia, and if you don’t speak Bahasa it would be a little bit troublesome. But fret not, my dear readers because this book is already translated in English with a different title: “The Outcast”. So yes, I will still recommend this book.

I rate this 4/5 ❤


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