fiction, review

Edensor

What if you get to finally grab your dreams? Moving on to the third installment of Laskar Pelangi Tetralogy, Andrea Hirata seems to tell you that you don’t actually stop. First published in 2007, Edensor reveals the next journey of Ikal in his pursuit of higher education. At this stage of story, dreams are not what he strives to achieve anymore, they’re something he scrambles already, with many difficulties and hurdles. The setting of Paris cements the fact that there are still challenges to go through in living out his dreams.

The beginning of the story continues the ending of Sang Pemimpi as Ikal and Arai finally win scholarships to study further at Universite de Paris, Sorbonne. Ikal tells us how ridiculously hard it is to deal with the Europe once they get there, the language barrier, the sense of inferiority in the face of self-important, superior people, the weather gap, and mainly, the cultural differences.

As it happens, we have this bit of love story going on in the teeth of cultural gap as a German girl named Katya forthrightly shows her particular interest in Ikal, while all men in their class seem to want to engage her in an intimate relationship. This very cultural gap is what stops him from going any further with Katya. Besides, Ikal never gives up on A Ling, his first love back when in Belitong. His love for A Ling drives him to insanely try to find her in all over the Europe in the middle of his Euro-Africa trip with Arai. Much to his dismay, he cannot find A Ling and instead arrives in a beautiful place she ever tells him about back in their time together: Edensor.

What captures my interest most is Ikal’s point of view in describing the characters of various people from all over the world. He hilariously points out how people of developing countries, such as he himself and his friends from India and Mexico, are so much different from people of developed countries like his classmates from America or the Europe. He portrays their cultural characteristics by way of describing the solemn silence, for instance, of the German and Dutch people, the coarse language used by his British and American friends, and the always lack-of-money state of himself and other fellow students from the developing countries.

Edensor, generally, is more of a story about cultural differences, education, knowledge, and pondering of superior-inferior relationship. It still tells us about going beyond the bounds of possibility, yes, but its significance has somewhat diminished. Its narrative, unfortunately, continues its sloppy decline, making me find it hard to tell whether it is a literary work or merely a popular book, though I personally believe there is no such a thing as popular book. To me, a work is a work; there is no limit on literature. Nevertheless, Andrea Hirata has once again proved himself to be a cultural observer with his hilarious, witty descriptions of various people in the world, albeit only in a small circle surrounding himself.

In conclusion, I’d like to recommend this book to those of you who want to know the next story of Ikal. For readers who seek for a smart, entertaining book, Edensor is also a choice.

Rating: 3/5

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