“Bapakku anggrek bulan, putih dari hutan. Ibuku mawar merah di taman, dekat pagar pekarangan. Bertemu suatu pagi di pelabuhan. Melahirkanku. Bayi merah muda kemboja. Bunga kuburan.”
Nukila Amal has caught my attention from her very first start back in 2003. I remember finding the most quotable line from her first book, Cala Ibi.
Since then I knew that I was going to set my eyes on her future works. Which was unlikely, because after Cala Ibi, Amal did not write that much, if there was any, mostly short stories—and I am surely grateful that a publisher took the initiative to collect and republish the stories into books. Including this one, Laluba.
What I like about Amal’s writing is the depth or her prose. Her chosen words and her wordplay. At first you might think those words might actually meaningless, just like the garnishes on your plate of steak or fake flowers on your birthday cake—just to find that you are totally wrong. She crafted her words that way that if you’re not careful enough you might miss the meaning behind the symbols. I don’t think she did that on purpose to impress people rather than just to amuse herself or for the sake of a writing experiment.
I remembered one day reading her interview in one woman’s publication which was done in email correspondency because she refused to be in the spotlight rather than for the writing itself. An attitude less seen in social media madness these days. And oh I love her for that.
If you’re into literature and lyrical wordplay, I truly recommend all of Nukila Amal’s books for you.
“Aku telah lelah berdoa, bahkan doa-doa itu tak pernah untukku sendiri, tapi untuk semua manusia-manusia malang. Kudoakan juga hati manusia-manusia yang mencintai-Mu, tapi tak bisa mencintai sesama dengan hati itu.” [Laluba]