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Jakarta, Maret 1998 Di sebuah senja, di sebuah rumah susun di Jakarta, mahasiswa bernama Biru Laut disergap empat lelaki tak dikenal. Bersama kawan-kawannya, Daniel Tumbuan, Sunu Dyantoro, Alex Perazon, dia dibawa ke sebuah tempat yang tak dikenal. Berbulan-bulan mereka disekap, diinterogasi, dipukul, ditendang, digantung, dan disetrum agar bersedia menjawab satu pertanyaan Jakarta, Maret 1998 Di sebuah senja, di sebuah rumah susun di Jakarta, mahasiswa bernama Biru Laut disergap empat lelaki tak dikenal. Bersama kawan-kawannya, Daniel Tumbuan, Sunu Dyantoro, Alex Perazon, dia dibawa ke sebuah tempat yang tak dikenal. Berbulan-bulan mereka disekap, diinterogasi, dipukul, ditendang, digantung, dan disetrum agar bersedia menjawab satu pertanyaan penting: siapakah yang berdiri di balik gerakan aktivis dan mahasiswa saat itu. Jakarta, Juni 1998 Keluarga Arya Wibisono, seperti biasa, pada hari Minggu sore memasak bersama, menyediakan makanan kesukaan Biru Laut. Sang ayah akan meletakkan satu piring untuk dirinya, satu piring untuk sang ibu, satu piring untuk Biru Laut, dan satu piring untuk si bungsu Asmara Jati. Mereka duduk menanti dan menanti. Tapi Biru Laut tak kunjung muncul. Jakarta, 2000 Asmara Jati, adik Biru Laut, beserta Tim Komisi Orang Hilang yang dipimpin Aswin Pradana mencoba mencari jejak mereka yang hilang serta merekam dan mempelajari testimoni mereka yang kembali. Anjani, kekasih Laut, para orangtua dan istri aktivis yang hilang menuntut kejelasan tentang anggota keluarga mereka. Sementara Biru Laut, dari dasar laut yang sunyi bercerita kepada kita, kepada dunia tentang apa yang terjadi pada dirinya dan kawan-kawannya. Laut Bercerita, novel terbaru Leila S. Chudori, bertutur tentang kisah keluarga yang kehilangan, sekumpulan sahabat yang merasakan kekosongan di dada, sekelompok orang yang gemar menyiksa dan lancar berkhianat, sejumlah keluarga yang mencari kejelasan akan anaknya, dan tentang cinta yang tak akan luntur.


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Jakarta, Maret 1998 Di sebuah senja, di sebuah rumah susun di Jakarta, mahasiswa bernama Biru Laut disergap empat lelaki tak dikenal. Bersama kawan-kawannya, Daniel Tumbuan, Sunu Dyantoro, Alex Perazon, dia dibawa ke sebuah tempat yang tak dikenal. Berbulan-bulan mereka disekap, diinterogasi, dipukul, ditendang, digantung, dan disetrum agar bersedia menjawab satu pertanyaan Jakarta, Maret 1998 Di sebuah senja, di sebuah rumah susun di Jakarta, mahasiswa bernama Biru Laut disergap empat lelaki tak dikenal. Bersama kawan-kawannya, Daniel Tumbuan, Sunu Dyantoro, Alex Perazon, dia dibawa ke sebuah tempat yang tak dikenal. Berbulan-bulan mereka disekap, diinterogasi, dipukul, ditendang, digantung, dan disetrum agar bersedia menjawab satu pertanyaan penting: siapakah yang berdiri di balik gerakan aktivis dan mahasiswa saat itu. Jakarta, Juni 1998 Keluarga Arya Wibisono, seperti biasa, pada hari Minggu sore memasak bersama, menyediakan makanan kesukaan Biru Laut. Sang ayah akan meletakkan satu piring untuk dirinya, satu piring untuk sang ibu, satu piring untuk Biru Laut, dan satu piring untuk si bungsu Asmara Jati. Mereka duduk menanti dan menanti. Tapi Biru Laut tak kunjung muncul. Jakarta, 2000 Asmara Jati, adik Biru Laut, beserta Tim Komisi Orang Hilang yang dipimpin Aswin Pradana mencoba mencari jejak mereka yang hilang serta merekam dan mempelajari testimoni mereka yang kembali. Anjani, kekasih Laut, para orangtua dan istri aktivis yang hilang menuntut kejelasan tentang anggota keluarga mereka. Sementara Biru Laut, dari dasar laut yang sunyi bercerita kepada kita, kepada dunia tentang apa yang terjadi pada dirinya dan kawan-kawannya. Laut Bercerita, novel terbaru Leila S. Chudori, bertutur tentang kisah keluarga yang kehilangan, sekumpulan sahabat yang merasakan kekosongan di dada, sekelompok orang yang gemar menyiksa dan lancar berkhianat, sejumlah keluarga yang mencari kejelasan akan anaknya, dan tentang cinta yang tak akan luntur.

30 review for Laut Bercerita

  1. 4 out of 5

    Putri Amalia Handayani

    I don't think my review will do it justice so I'm not going to write one. I'm just gonna say this story is incredible yet so painful they need to consider putting a warning sign or something on the cover😭😭 I cried a lot bc I could practically feel everyone's love to each other here. You really need to feel that yourself. Also, this story happened, it's real, so I pray for those iblis (this term suits them best, I feel like the term 'devil' is too weak) who violated human rights to rot in hell and I don't think my review will do it justice so I'm not going to write one. I'm just gonna say this story is incredible yet so painful they need to consider putting a warning sign or something on the cover😭😭 I cried a lot bc I could practically feel everyone's love to each other here. You really need to feel that yourself. Also, this story happened, it's real, so I pray for those iblis (this term suits them best, I feel like the term 'devil' is too weak) who violated human rights to rot in hell and may God create one as bonus for them here in the world so that they won't both live and die in peace, aamiin. I'd really like to thank all of the activists involved back then because they had successfully created a better country for us to live, thank you and rest well kak.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    Rating: 4.5/5 ___ 1998. Indonesia under Suharto. The story begins with the death of Biru Laut, who is among the twenty-two student activists abducted and tortured by the elite military force called Elang, is thrown into the sea and drowned to death. What follows is the reminiscences of his political and personal life as a student activist, a fugitive, a son, a brother, a lover, a friend, and a writer. The disappearance of Laut drives his sister Asmara to embark on the journey to discover the truth Rating: 4.5/5 ___ 1998. Indonesia under Suharto. The story begins with the death of Biru Laut, who is among the twenty-two student activists abducted and tortured by the elite military force called Elang, is thrown into the sea and drowned to death. What follows is the reminiscences of his political and personal life as a student activist, a fugitive, a son, a brother, a lover, a friend, and a writer. The disappearance of Laut drives his sister Asmara to embark on the journey to discover the truth. It is a painful journey in which she is forced to witness how the families of those who didn’t make it home deal with the reality that their children are gone; as well as to confront her parents’ denial of the brother’s fate. However, her resolution to find out the truth is exactly what makes the ending a bittersweet and haunting one. *** Told in the perspectives of Laut and Asmara, The Sea Speaks His Name is a heartbreaking and engaging page-turner exploring largely censorship, political oppression, freedom of speech, power of art, family values, hope, and above all, love. With its nuanced, convincing, and unsentimental characterisation; sparse and accessible language; bleak yet hopeful tone, it is an epitome of political drama which allows readers to connect with its characters and their destinies emotionally. The first part, which chronicles Laut's experiences as a student activist, a fugitive, and an abductee, reveals his struggles and unwavering tenacity to reclaim justice through and defy the brutal totalitarian regime, i.e. the Orde Baru government under Suharto; as well as the various forms of political repression to which student activists are subjected. Told from Asmara’s point of view, the second part highlights the aftermath of the abduction and how the nine returnees deal with their personal and shared trauma which has forever changed their lives. The families of the missing activists as well as the survivors work hard to uncover the truth through legal channels, such as establishing a committee and voicing out their concerns at international conferences. What I found the most empowering and inspiring among the themes explored in the story was the power of art, i.e. literature and songs, in raising awareness of injustice and giving the characters hope and happiness in the face of tyranny and despair. *** In her acknowledgement, the author mentions that the inspiration behind the book is the story of a former student activist who himself was abducted and tortured during the Suharto era. In fact, the story is the result of her interview sessions with the student activists and library research. Hence, The Sea Speak His Name can be deemed a thoroughly well-researched oeuvre for the authorial effort in attempting to write the voices of these students back into history. It is the reclamation and restoration of the many voices silenced by the dominant narrative.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Missy J

    I tagged this book as "historical fiction" even though it deals with a subject that happened only a little over 20 years ago. In 1998, Suharto finally stepped down from power after ruling Indonesia for 30+ years. In the nineties, there were a lot of protests calling for his resignation, most famous the Trisakti Tragedy, in which 4 unarmed students were shot dead by the military. Students were at the forefront of the protests and there are still unresolved issues of kidnapped students whose where I tagged this book as "historical fiction" even though it deals with a subject that happened only a little over 20 years ago. In 1998, Suharto finally stepped down from power after ruling Indonesia for 30+ years. In the nineties, there were a lot of protests calling for his resignation, most famous the Trisakti Tragedy, in which 4 unarmed students were shot dead by the military. Students were at the forefront of the protests and there are still unresolved issues of kidnapped students whose whereabouts are still unknown or if they are still alive. That's the subject of this book. Laut Bercerita is a wonderful book title. "Laut" means "ocean", but is also the first name of the protagonis. "Bercerita" means "to tell a story". I love how the author structured the novel; every chapter title gives us the location and year of the setting. The first half of the book is narrated by Laut, while the second half of the book is told by Asmara, his younger sister. The first chapter of the book already hits you with a splashing wave and I was gripped by a feeling of suspense and excitement. I had to continue reading. No wonder Laut Bercerita has such high ratings. Laut is in university and joins a student organization fighting for democracy in Indonesia. We learn a lot about the friendships within the group, how they organize, discuss and finally how they were kidnapped and tortured. Laut is one of the students who is never returned to his family. The second half of the book deals with this uncertainty and how his family and friends suffer. Even though this is a fictional story, you can tell that the author interviewed and talked to real life subjects. We learn about the friendships of Laut, his relationship with his parents and his sister, his blooming romance with Anjani, his love for cooking and writing. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters. Alex was my favorite, even though I find it hard to believe that such a person could exist. Suspicions arise within the organization. Somebody is leaking information to intelligence agents, which is why their attempt to help stage a protest with peasants fails. Who is betraying them? This was my first time to read a book by Leila Chudori and I really enjoyed this. Her language flows smoothly. I've heard of Pulang, but have been hesitant to pick it up. Laut Bercerita has very high ratings, so I wasn't too worried. Laut Bercerita is in the process of being translated into English by the same translator who did Pulang's translation. I really hope the translator does Laut Bercerita justice, because this is a really important story for Indonesians. This history isn't too long ago, there are still families suffering and looking for answers. The scene of Laut's parents cooking the family meal every Sunday, listening to the Beatles and always laying out a plate for Laut even though he has been missing for several years is truly heart-breaking. The current government of Indonesia is allowing more freedom of speech than before, but has still not shown real commitment for an open dialogue to take place regarding this issue - where are the missing students? Sadly some of Suharto’s croonies are still in power behind the scenes and don't want to face justice and reality. "Dan yang paling berat bagi semua orangtua dan keluarga aktivis yang hiland adalah: insomnia dan ketidakpastian. Kedua orangtuaku tak pernah lagi tidur dan sukar makan karena selalu menanti 'Mas Laut muncul di depan pintu dan akan lebih enak makan bersama.'" A 20-minute short documentary with English subtitles that I found on Youtube on this subject: Tuti Koto, the mother of Yani Afri, an activist who is still missing

  4. 5 out of 5

    Khai Jian (KJ)

    "Refusal is a tactic for survival. Refusing to believe that they were kidnapped, refusing to believe they were killed. All of them. All the ones who hadn't returned" The Sea Speaks His Name is a true-story inspired novel written by Leila S. Chudori (intially published in Indonesian as Laut Bercerita) which sets in the Suharto era. The first half of the story was told from the point of view of Biru Laut and revolves around a group of student activists who were kidnapped and brutally tortured by th "Refusal is a tactic for survival. Refusing to believe that they were kidnapped, refusing to believe they were killed. All of them. All the ones who hadn't returned" The Sea Speaks His Name is a true-story inspired novel written by Leila S. Chudori (intially published in Indonesian as Laut Bercerita) which sets in the Suharto era. The first half of the story was told from the point of view of Biru Laut and revolves around a group of student activists who were kidnapped and brutally tortured by the "Elang" (Suharto's elite military force). Some of them were released upon the resignation of Suharto in 1998 but the unfortunate ones remain missing until today. The second half of the story was told from the point of view of Asmara (Laut's sister) and the author delved into the struggles and mentality of the family, relatives and friends of the missing activists in dealing with such incident. This book gives me goosebumps all the way! It is UNPUTDOWNABLE! It reveals the blatant disrespect of democracy and human rights by Suharto and how the Indonesian student activists reacted to the dictator's New Order government. Chudori is such a talented writer. Her character work is impeccable. The inner struggles, conflicts and dynamics between the characters are all properly fleshed out. Not to mention that Chudori had to impute a lot of historical facts in this story whereby there is no single strand of "info dumping" feeling at all. It was done in such a subtle manner and the whole story is so atmospheric with her beautiful yet not flowery writing. I am really impressed. I also love the fact that she has included a lot of literary references (especially the books that were banned during the Suharto regime) which played an important role in the protests of the student activists. What comes out as impactful to me in this story is the epilogue. It was executed in perfection and provides the perfect ending to this story. This is indeed a tragic story but at the same time, inspiring. It is the kind of story that reminds us of the power of democracy to which dictators and politicians are afraid of. Such fear leads them to suppress democracy with whatever means, but at the end of the day, the right shall prevail. No doubt, this is a strong 5/5 star read to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    dina

    "Dia juga berpesan agar kau hati-hati. Katanya Bapak dan Ibu ingin melihatmu di dapur dan duduk di meja makan bersama mereka." Tengkleng and gulai are meals that unite Laut, Asmara, and their parents. Within their small family, literature and art were profoundly exchanged, it's flowing deep in their veins. It was two years after the disappearance of Laut, yet the three of them remained seated on their chairs, waiting for their oldest child to come back home. He didn't. 1998's monetary "Dia juga berpesan agar kau hati-hati. Katanya Bapak dan Ibu ingin melihatmu di dapur dan duduk di meja makan bersama mereka." Tengkleng and gulai are meals that unite Laut, Asmara, and their parents. Within their small family, literature and art were profoundly exchanged, it's flowing deep in their veins. It was two years after the disappearance of Laut, yet the three of them remained seated on their chairs, waiting for their oldest child to come back home. He didn't. 1998's monetary crisis and the fall of Soeharto's dictatorship had never been as close as the time I started became a college student. My history teacher during high school was eager to show us documentraies: Senyap or The Look of Silence (2014) and Jagal or The Act of Killing (2012) as an alternative to perceive PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia) and Soeharto's presidency through a different light. Back then, I could only comprehend just so much about the contemporary history of Indonesia. Now, after the Omnibus Bill has passed and KPK's function (a legitimate institution to investigate corruptions) was debilitated, massive demonstrations broke out. As a member of journalistic club, I obtained comparisons between demonstration that happened during the regime of Soeharto and the one that happened just now. Back then, students tried to gather masses with tremendous fear. Missing people was not just a figment in that era; it was as real as penembakan misterius (mysterious gunshot) toward people who were suspected as the enemies of the government. Democracy, on the other hand, was a myth. News and journalism were fabricated and Pramoedya Ananta Toer as well as other radical authors' literatures were officially banned. Imagine living in such dreadful era for 31? 32? years. Laut Bercerita (also known as The Sea Speaks His Name) is a literary work inspired by a real event of our history. Upon reading the prologue and its acknowledgement page, I was already teared up. At that moment, I just finished my researches on Pam Swakarsa which led me to read more about Tragedi Semanggi (Semanggi Shootings); the story of a mother seeking for justice for her son that was killed, the continuous act of demonstration seeking for the answer after twenty years or so have passed. Laut Bercerita emphasized that; the activism of college students against the previous corrupt government, the missing people, and the family that suffered from such great loss. It is also about finding love and home in the spite of terror and threats. The activists were agitated for a change, but in the process, they also had to undergo a series of torture from their own oppressive country. It's an adjacent topic that still leaves a room for fear in our and older generations, it doesn't get old in the spite of reformation. Aksi Kamisan that's held every Thursday, inspired by 'Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo' in Argentina, is a proof that this part of our history can never be erased. One of Laut Bercerita's main settings is in my hometown, thus most of the part feels really close and I could vividly imagine the scenarios. Various references of literature and International human right violations that happened prior to the main event of this book were mentioned all the time, which for me, feels more like a generous input from Chudori so that the readers could actually do a further research about those issues notwithstanding work of fiction that this book is instead of a mere pretentious move. Romance and the reminiscence of homemade food are slipped inside this book like an offering for safety, but even that was not sufficient to prolong the danger that lurked among them. Dream was postponed in order to trace the trails of Asmara's missing brother. Food had become cold and a particular someone's plate was empty but remained to be served on the table. This book is a manifestation in a form of fiction that we, as Indonesians, shall not forget the history that both shaped and became the foundation of this nation. To reach this point and end a facist regime, massive power was enforced and most of them was also brutally dimmed by the government. There are mothers and siblings going down to the streets up until now, demanding for justice for their missing children and brothers. Although the sea might as well be the last witness of the activists' bodies, their fight and resistance is a story that will be retold a million times. Although Laut's instant noodles recipe and mother's dishes gradually felt distant and alien for Asmara, she still woke up every day to take care of her patients as well as to voice out the human rights that had yet to be fulfilled out of love.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rahman Rasyidi

    I have lost my words for this book. This book settles my interest in Indonesian historical fiction books. It's ironic that I have read many books with background on international events but I have so little knowledge about Indonesian history. Special shoutout to Kyana for introducing me to brilliant Indonesian books (Burung-burung Manyar was also her recommendation). The book also successsfully made me realize that there are so many things that I take for granted here in Indonesia. There are peop I have lost my words for this book. This book settles my interest in Indonesian historical fiction books. It's ironic that I have read many books with background on international events but I have so little knowledge about Indonesian history. Special shoutout to Kyana for introducing me to brilliant Indonesian books (Burung-burung Manyar was also her recommendation). The book also successsfully made me realize that there are so many things that I take for granted here in Indonesia. There are people who fought so hard to make this happen. As simple as freely choosing books with strong political view, having discussions about basically anything with anyone, etc. “Matilah engkau mati.. Engkau akan lahir berkali-kali!”

  7. 4 out of 5

    andra

    never read a book that is as riveting and raw as this one. i loved it and it certainly brought more questions in my head about my own nation’s history.

  8. 5 out of 5

    A.

    i cried. a lot.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aurel

    I don't know what to say, this book broke me. I don't know what to say, this book broke me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Izzatur Rahmaniyah

    As someone who enjoys historical fiction, I'm glad I've found and read this book. I always avoid reading Indonesian novels because it's too melancholic yet this book serves something different. It depicts what happened during Soeharto's reign. Some college students who cared about their country and its people fought for their rights. I love the story told by Laut. It is so powerful and intense. Couldn't imagine if that really happened in the past. But sorry I couldn't give this book 5 stars beca As someone who enjoys historical fiction, I'm glad I've found and read this book. I always avoid reading Indonesian novels because it's too melancholic yet this book serves something different. It depicts what happened during Soeharto's reign. Some college students who cared about their country and its people fought for their rights. I love the story told by Laut. It is so powerful and intense. Couldn't imagine if that really happened in the past. But sorry I couldn't give this book 5 stars because the story from Asmara's point of view is really boring for me. It's too melancholic and the plot is too slow. It's absolutely predictable and there is too many repetition about what happened to her parents after Laut was gone. Sorry to say but that's what I feel and think about it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Btari

    this is my first (leila) chudori and I... Love. It. i am a generation born around the end of Soeharto's regime, so my generation didn't get a first hand taste of the New Order. we are the first generation of the Reformation, so reading this book gave me a glimpse of how powerless the people were and how they fought restlessly for a democratic nation my generation tastes now. i love the characters and how through the little details, chudori harmoniously makes strong characters. those little thing this is my first (leila) chudori and I... Love. It. i am a generation born around the end of Soeharto's regime, so my generation didn't get a first hand taste of the New Order. we are the first generation of the Reformation, so reading this book gave me a glimpse of how powerless the people were and how they fought restlessly for a democratic nation my generation tastes now. i love the characters and how through the little details, chudori harmoniously makes strong characters. those little things from their mundane lives that make each of them a unique character on their own and make them... real, real human. Everyone of them are so well defined that I wish there are versions of this story, told through different eyes (from Alex's, Daniel's, Anjani's, even Naratama' --this novel is narrated by Biru Laut and a small part by Asmara Jati, his sister). I mean, even if it's the same plot, it won't be the same shit, and I will devotedly read it. another thing I like about the book is how chudori was able to rearrange the focus of the story (especially the torturing part) not to the sadistic, inhumane torture, but to the flow of thoughts (the mind) of the character living it. i think that's also the magic of literature. the words are able to present something cruel and scary into something that... I won't say beautiful, but artistic. like a perplexing abstract painting that resonates darkness to you, for no lagical reason.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Riri

    Honestly lost words. I don't know much about politics and law, but this book opens my eyes about what this country holds for so long. Its darkest secret. 22 years later we still are not given the answer about 13 activists who remain missing up to this day. Where they are now. How their family deal with this. I don't even dare to imagine what they feel. Reading this book alone gave me lots of pain. It's definitely a must read book! Everyone must know about this history and make sure it won't happ Honestly lost words. I don't know much about politics and law, but this book opens my eyes about what this country holds for so long. Its darkest secret. 22 years later we still are not given the answer about 13 activists who remain missing up to this day. Where they are now. How their family deal with this. I don't even dare to imagine what they feel. Reading this book alone gave me lots of pain. It's definitely a must read book! Everyone must know about this history and make sure it won't happen again. Thank you, Leila S. Chudori.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wilma Monica

    FULL REVIEW https://booksandbeautyjournal.wordpre... FULL REVIEW https://booksandbeautyjournal.wordpre...

  14. 4 out of 5

    rachel

    i truly have no words how to describe this book. i love the poems, i love how the author slipped a lot of pop songs references in the 90s and i loovee the characters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    SĂ©bastien

    The Sea Speaks His Name sets in the 90’s of Indonesia under Suharto. Inspired by true events, Leila S. Chudori wrote a heartbreaking story of a group of student activists being abducted, tortured and interrogated by the military. The book was first published in Indonesian as Laut Bercerita and then translated into English by John McGlynn. First part of the book was told by the protagonist, Biru Laut, an English Literature student. He was thrown into the sea and drowned to death after being tortur The Sea Speaks His Name sets in the 90’s of Indonesia under Suharto. Inspired by true events, Leila S. Chudori wrote a heartbreaking story of a group of student activists being abducted, tortured and interrogated by the military. The book was first published in Indonesian as Laut Bercerita and then translated into English by John McGlynn. First part of the book was told by the protagonist, Biru Laut, an English Literature student. He was thrown into the sea and drowned to death after being tortured viciously for months. As he was taking his last breath through his pain, he recounted what happened to him in the past—from his time with his loving family to all the adventurous political movement he had planned and participated along with his group of university friends. Through his powerfully evocative voice, Laut shared the episodes while he was one the run as a fugitive as well as his hellish encounter while he and his friends were kidnapped. In second part, Laut’s sister Asmara, a recent medical graduate, shared about the experience she and other families of kidnapped students faced as they tried to find out for the disappearance of their loved ones. When she didn’t hear anything about her brother after some of Laut’s friends were released, she and her parents were in total despair. With no news about Laut after two years, she started to accept that her brother was totally gone forever. However, her parents were in denial and still hoped that Laut would walk in at anytime during their family’s Sunday ritual dinner. Throughout the book, Laut was such a remarkable character with multiple qualities. He was an emphatic writer, a caring son, a supportive brother, a doting lover, a kind friend, an altruistic activist and a courageous comrade. Despite the inhumane tortures he had received, he asked his beloved ones to be hopeful and not to dwell too much in the past. Asmara, one the other hand, is the pragmatic one with strong will. She had to bear the substantial weight and had to be the rock of the family. She kept looking out for the news of her brother and other disappeared students. The book focuses on the political repressions these student activists in Indonesia encountered and the traumatic events they had to live with. It also showcases the government’s preposterous injustice towards the families and the loved ones of the students who never returned home. Both storytelling and translation are poignant and lyrical yet very engaging. I cried when I was reading Laut’s haunting story as well as when Asmara shared the harrowing story of those who were left with no answer. I was sobbing and reading through tears when I read the epilogue. What a monumental book with powerful characters. Definitely one of my favourite reads of 2020. Family, friendship, love, courage, loyalty, pain, loss, betrayal, and faith are interwoven with the characters and stories and an eloquent political drama was told passionately. A powerful book that tugs my heartstrings. I loved it immensely and it was such a compelling read. 4.8 out of 5.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Keith Morgan

    Really enjoyed this book. Im a bule but my bahasa is pretty good so read the book in bahasa. As Leila has said in interviews, the korban (victims) are not just those who disappeared but also the families and loved ones left behind. It was interesting to read about the student activities in the early 90s. The torture scenes were difficult to read but a necessary part of the story. I have also read Leila's Pulang which is also a great book. Really enjoyed this book. Im a bule but my bahasa is pretty good so read the book in bahasa. As Leila has said in interviews, the korban (victims) are not just those who disappeared but also the families and loved ones left behind. It was interesting to read about the student activities in the early 90s. The torture scenes were difficult to read but a necessary part of the story. I have also read Leila's Pulang which is also a great book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ming Yen PHAN

    Possibly the most compelling and powerful work of fiction I have a read in a long while. A book which transcends its subject matter of a moment in the history of Indonesia into a meditation on life and death and humanity. A book that should be in any literature course at any institute of higher learning.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nomattersword

    I'm not crying, because i already have receive it, all about lose in this book. Losing someone is a part of life. Losing someone is a what you will learn. I'm not crying, because i already have receive it, all about lose in this book. Losing someone is a part of life. Losing someone is a what you will learn.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hikaoru

    I gave myself a few hours to collect my thoughts. It's always a bit harder to review books that I like rather than the ones I don't. It's Saturday so we're back with the #Cabaran100MukaSurat by Bookends.my and since I'm already on page 205 so I figured I could soldier on til the end. It's not like it makes a difference. I'm free all day, every day until I get my placement. I have always been interested in history but reading this made me realise I am very much behind. I know a lot about ancient hi I gave myself a few hours to collect my thoughts. It's always a bit harder to review books that I like rather than the ones I don't. It's Saturday so we're back with the #Cabaran100MukaSurat by Bookends.my and since I'm already on page 205 so I figured I could soldier on til the end. It's not like it makes a difference. I'm free all day, every day until I get my placement. I have always been interested in history but reading this made me realise I am very much behind. I know a lot about ancient history of the world and probably some of the Malay archipelago but lacking in terms of political climate of the surrounding countries. Growing up, I heard about the violation of human rights, banned books and restriction of speech as something from dystopian worlds, in books and seldom in real life. If it somehow existed, I thought it would be long ago and definitely not during my lifetime and definitely not in our country or neighbouring ones. Oh how sheltered I was. I read more and learned about how words have value and people go at great lengths to silent them but it is still not something that affects me. You see, consuming materials from the West means focusing on their issues and sometimes comparing it to what we have in our country but it's not the same. There is still that other-ness. I am......definitely off topic here. Well, this is basically me, educating myself through fiction (because it's more palatable), trying to consume more materials in my native tongue because I see the ratio of English fiction and Malay is so disproportionate. Unintentionally stumble through a historical fiction which I knew nothing about. To me Soeharto is just a name I heard in passing and when I asked mum about it and he explained in brief about his reign and I'm like this was common knowledge? I do realise Indonesians are known for their demonstrations but I never knew that they could get killed for it or even tortured. I was also super interested in how they got around the banned books issue. They photocopied books and smuggle them like contraband items, they distribute zines, they translate books so that the masses can get a hold of them. I remember a saying somewhere that says the saddest thing isn't when a book is burn but when it isn't read. All this word vomit made me realize we do have Sedition Act in our country. I gotta read up on those but people on twitter has been spewing a lot of things without repercussions so I guess it isn't that strict. TLDR: read this book if you wanna know more about student activism in Indonesia. Trigger warning: mentions of torture.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ayunda

    I've said it before to so many people who will listen when I first read Pulang, and I will say it once again: Leila Chudori is a genius! (Note: I will write this review in English for people who are interested in reading this book in its translated format, and just because I feel like I can be more eloquent in my reviews when I write in English). The book stars our quiet protagonist: Laut, also meaning "sea", and sharing the title of the book which both means "the sea tells a story" or "Laut - th I've said it before to so many people who will listen when I first read Pulang, and I will say it once again: Leila Chudori is a genius! (Note: I will write this review in English for people who are interested in reading this book in its translated format, and just because I feel like I can be more eloquent in my reviews when I write in English). The book stars our quiet protagonist: Laut, also meaning "sea", and sharing the title of the book which both means "the sea tells a story" or "Laut - the character - tells a story". He is a passionate young man living his life in university, with a fire ignited when he meets a woman activist student, and joins their group of friends who love Indonesia and want to see a difference in its government. When the 1998 riot happened, I was only 1 year old. It was later on, of course, told by my parents and my teachers as something historical that felt like it happened 50 years ago. It felt so surreal to know that I was actually alive, that this happened in my lifetime. The disappearance of 13 activists around that time was never really taught officially in schools. It felt like something mythical, a folklore instead of a historical event. This book tries to explore that event, and the event leading up to it - fictionalized, of course, but with the tack and the knowledge of someone who is very close in heart to the subject. And I must say, I feel like only Chudori can manage to pull it off so well as this book can show you. The characters in this book are quite a lot. All of them young men and women, full of heart and spirit, excited and righteous. Our main character is no different, and his silence is far from making him a background viewer. His actions speak louder than words, and the people's lives he had touched reach not only his friends and classmates whom he loved, but also his family, food, the nature, and eventually, the government. Yes, this is a very fictionalized and sometimes romanticized version of what happened only a little more than two decades ago. But the essence that I think the author wanted to tell is us that yes, these are human beings, and yes they have families and people who still have questions until today. The disappearance of these men and the effect they have on Indonesian history, the lives of younger university students, their lovers, and of course their parents and siblings, span so far out that it is important for people like me, a normal Indonesian person going on their normal lives, to acknowledge it and be aware of it. The fact that it is still a mystery to us until today, and maybe will still remain a mystery. This not knowing is a huge part of the second half of the story, the struggle of Laut's sister to keep fighting and searching for her brother whom she had not seen for over two years, the hesitation between moving on and grieving or not giving up and fighting. And whether accepting fate is actually "giving up" or if it is just another version of moving on. Beautiful writing, touching moments and strong characters. I would highly recommend this to everyone.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Henry Wijaya

    Laut Bercerita tells the story of a student-activist named Biru Laut who fought against the tyranny of past Indonesian government during the Soeharto's regime. Starting with his curiosity to read books banned by the government, he joined a resistance movement, which helped those whose rights were violated by the government, and finally, which fought to topple the authoritarian regime as the regime got more repressively violent. Laut's struggle, as well as his friends, culminated in their own sac Laut Bercerita tells the story of a student-activist named Biru Laut who fought against the tyranny of past Indonesian government during the Soeharto's regime. Starting with his curiosity to read books banned by the government, he joined a resistance movement, which helped those whose rights were violated by the government, and finally, which fought to topple the authoritarian regime as the regime got more repressively violent. Laut's struggle, as well as his friends, culminated in their own sacrifice—abducted illegally, tortured brutally, and some of them eventually killed. Based on the true story of student-activists which disappeared after their fight in 1998, tortured by military personnels, and some have never been found until now, this book has become a wonderful remembrance of those brave, selfless heroes. This book is a wake up call. It demands all Indonesians to realize that something evil still lurks behind our today's progress and that evil, while diminishes in its power, is still alive, is constantly trying to impede any efforts to uncover it, and is waiting to resurface and regain its former glory. It reminds us not to be lost in our own bliss, not to ignore those who fought to bring us our better life now, and not to let the same evil ever reign again. Leila S. Chudori successfully presents the thoughts, lives, and emotions of those fighters who struggle to bring about changes in our country, as well as those of loved ones left behind, mourning the suffering and the loss of those fighters and fighting for their remembrance. Chudori makes us realize that these fighters—regardless of their selfless ideals and care—are human beings who love, who feel fearful and unsure at times, who bleed, and who deserve happiness among their loved ones.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Athena Syarifa

    Written in my mother's tongue.. I'm not an avid reader of Indonesian authors, but I have to admit that this is my third Leila Chudori's book. I also have to admit that I learn my country's history in the best way by reading her historical fiction novels. Isn't that sad? Coincidentally, this book also has a part that tells you how history can best be learned by understanding human emotions as the main motives behind every historical events. It's not about what you have to memorize for the next his Written in my mother's tongue.. I'm not an avid reader of Indonesian authors, but I have to admit that this is my third Leila Chudori's book. I also have to admit that I learn my country's history in the best way by reading her historical fiction novels. Isn't that sad? Coincidentally, this book also has a part that tells you how history can best be learned by understanding human emotions as the main motives behind every historical events. It's not about what you have to memorize for the next history exam, but about clawing your way into someone else's life that happened to live hundreds of years ago. We learn to dissect a story, creating a character, and understanding why he/she put themselves in the middle of history. In the center of the retelling of historical events, lies the heart and core of each one of Leila's book, family, friendship and love. A perfect setting to bring history closer to the heart of its readers. In between of it all, lays sprinkles of sweet delicate play of tastebuds and imagination, with many important interactions hovering above delicious nasi lauk, tengkleng, and indomie rebus. If you remember, the first real conversation between Laut and Anjani is while they were eating indomie rebus, and the first long conversation between Laut and Kinan happened in a humble Warung Nasi. I love her works, equally. Can you imagine that? I would really recommend her books to anyone. And I would definitely read her new books in no time!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kartika Abdul Ghafar

    Set in the 90s during the remaining years of Suharto's regime, the story of Laut Bercerita ('The Sea Speaks His Name') follows a group of students at Gadja Madah University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This group of hopefuls organises clandestine meetings in abandoned homes, tucked away from the eyes of the police, where they critically discuss the government of the day, share photocopies of banned political literature and plan acts of protest in solidarity with powerless members of society. Split Set in the 90s during the remaining years of Suharto's regime, the story of Laut Bercerita ('The Sea Speaks His Name') follows a group of students at Gadja Madah University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This group of hopefuls organises clandestine meetings in abandoned homes, tucked away from the eyes of the police, where they critically discuss the government of the day, share photocopies of banned political literature and plan acts of protest in solidarity with powerless members of society. Split into two parts, the first is told through the eyes of Biru Laut, one of the student activists who is abducted, interrogated and tortured. The second part is narrated by his sister, Asmara, who along with the friends and family of the other abductees, embarks on a mission to find out what happened to Laut and the other missing individuals, in the hopes that one day they will return. This was honestly such a heavy read. I can't remember the last time a book made me cry. One thing I love is how the author humanises the experiences of the activists. Books and movies about political uprisings tend to strip away at the main characters to the point where they become heroic caricatures and the only noteworthy thing left about their personality is that they eat/breathe/live for "the struggle". Chudori's writing stands out because she takes care to build a full picture of each individual, from their favourite foods and personal quirks to their love lives and their families/upbringing. This made the chapters describing the torture and abuse so much more harrowing. I also love how Chudori dedicates half the book to explore the emotional and mental struggle that both the released activists and the families of the missing persons had to go through as a result of that trauma. As a result, this novel allows readers to see just how far and deep the ripples of an oppressive regime can travel. Would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the student uprisings and the road to democracy in Indonesia. 5 stars!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jo.

    I don't think i could write properly about this book, not even closer. This is actually the first of book of Leila Chudori that i read (people keep talking also about Pulang, already put it on my must read-list) and i've lost words; how powerful tf this book.... It not only asked me to emotionally come entering the story, feel what characters feel, listen what they hear, and see what they see; they feel so real and i couldn't even describe it as well as if they could embrace my knowledge and help I don't think i could write properly about this book, not even closer. This is actually the first of book of Leila Chudori that i read (people keep talking also about Pulang, already put it on my must read-list) and i've lost words; how powerful tf this book.... It not only asked me to emotionally come entering the story, feel what characters feel, listen what they hear, and see what they see; they feel so real and i couldn't even describe it as well as if they could embrace my knowledge and help to broaden it and historically open my horizon towards the reformation, to me, who never really went into this matter, the tragedy itself. I really feel thankful to this book, to the author; i highly recommend this book, Laut Bercerita. It tells about the college students that put their concerns on Indonesia under the Soeharto regime and then they became the activists, fighting for freedom to speech, to express the opinions, etc as we called it reformation. Also the most highlighted thing; the people, activists, who suddenly disappeared during that historical event. And tells what happened to their families, friends, lovers, etc, that harshly breaks my heart, really. Once again, this book is seriously great.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rezky Ramadhani

    My very first book from Leila. This was recommended by my friend, and I thanked her for that. It was a long time for me to read Indonesian literature again after I finished my study and surrounded by English, Irish-Scottish Literature. Laut Bercerita by Leila is an amazing book to remind people, especially Indonesian society about the phenomenon happened in 1996 until 1998 when Indonesia were lead by a dictator. Using two point of views, the victim of the tragedy, Biru Laut and his sister, Asmara My very first book from Leila. This was recommended by my friend, and I thanked her for that. It was a long time for me to read Indonesian literature again after I finished my study and surrounded by English, Irish-Scottish Literature. Laut Bercerita by Leila is an amazing book to remind people, especially Indonesian society about the phenomenon happened in 1996 until 1998 when Indonesia were lead by a dictator. Using two point of views, the victim of the tragedy, Biru Laut and his sister, Asmara Jati as the one who is leaved by her brother, the story brought us to remember the tragedy happened when many people tried to be free from dictatorship, the sacrifices and the efforts. This book asks its readers to realize the truth and sympatize to the victim's families as they did not know what happened to their children (until right now). It is a perfect book to remind us about our history and how cruel and vicious the government in that time was. Overall, it was a touching story which focuses on family and the history of Indonesia. This book is a great deal!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Naura Nabila Haryanto

    "...mereka tak sempat mengecap sebuah Indonesia yang lain. Mereka hanya mengenal Indonesia yang berbeda, yang gelap dan keras". My kind of romance -- the one that includes the history, but also give personal experiences and perspectives from the main character. The language is very deep, its not cheesy but you can feel the meaning deeply. Leila has successfully made me feel the sorrow also the spirit and passion that lies in each character. Last, I am ashamed on the perseverance of Laut and his "...mereka tak sempat mengecap sebuah Indonesia yang lain. Mereka hanya mengenal Indonesia yang berbeda, yang gelap dan keras". My kind of romance -- the one that includes the history, but also give personal experiences and perspectives from the main character. The language is very deep, its not cheesy but you can feel the meaning deeply. Leila has successfully made me feel the sorrow also the spirit and passion that lies in each character. Last, I am ashamed on the perseverance of Laut and his colleagues, in regards to express their voice towards the authoritarian system. As my favorite Indonesian book so far, this book is my wake up call to not take everything -- that this country has been given to me, for granted.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neyna Difratia

    Laut Bercerita by Leila S Chudori is the first book I read in 2018. I simply forced myself to do so because she will hold a discussion in my town. Never thought that it was beautiful and really important book for me. I actually haven't read the first book (Pulang) written by her, so I have no idea what topic she actually write. But then I understand that she was a former journalist and got so many data so that she can write Laut Bercerita which tells about Biru Laut--Indonesian activist in 1998 Laut Bercerita by Leila S Chudori is the first book I read in 2018. I simply forced myself to do so because she will hold a discussion in my town. Never thought that it was beautiful and really important book for me. I actually haven't read the first book (Pulang) written by her, so I have no idea what topic she actually write. But then I understand that she was a former journalist and got so many data so that she can write Laut Bercerita which tells about Biru Laut--Indonesian activist in 1998 who was not return till now. It feels real for me, because she stated the writing of Nezar Patria, Majalah Tempo journalist--her junior entitled "Di Kuil Penyiksaan Orde Baru," which he experienced himself. I will not write any longer, but I guess this novel is very necessary to read by Indonesian youngster to understand and love more about their country.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Lim

    This book is emotionally draining!!!! Telling the story of 1998 reformation era, from the perspectives of an activist and his family, Laut Bercerita made me realized how grateful I am living in current Indonesia. Although I grew up in Soeharto era, I've never had to fight directly for the freedom we have today. I really thank the people (like Biru Laut and his friends) who fought endlessly for Indonesia. They are the true heroes! Although this book is full of tragic moments, painful scenes and has This book is emotionally draining!!!! Telling the story of 1998 reformation era, from the perspectives of an activist and his family, Laut Bercerita made me realized how grateful I am living in current Indonesia. Although I grew up in Soeharto era, I've never had to fight directly for the freedom we have today. I really thank the people (like Biru Laut and his friends) who fought endlessly for Indonesia. They are the true heroes! Although this book is full of tragic moments, painful scenes and has one of the most heartbreaking endings ever, I still recommend it to everyone, especially the younger generation who somehow liked to "go back to the old days". Ugh! You can eat the so called old days!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Laut Bercerita adalah novel yang amat menyentuh saya sebagai pembaca. Penuturan dan penulisan diksi yang apik (namun masih mudah dimengerti) membuat saya dapat masuk ke dalam cerita, seolah-olah menyaksikan setiap kejadian di depan mata. Sayang, ketika situasi yang mencekam dan intens, saya kurang dapat merasakan kengerian yang ada. Padahal, apabila kengerian itu diciptakan sedemikian rupa (di mana asumsi saya ini merupakan novel dewasa), saya dapat merasakan pelbagai nyeri dan ngeri. Namun, tida Laut Bercerita adalah novel yang amat menyentuh saya sebagai pembaca. Penuturan dan penulisan diksi yang apik (namun masih mudah dimengerti) membuat saya dapat masuk ke dalam cerita, seolah-olah menyaksikan setiap kejadian di depan mata. Sayang, ketika situasi yang mencekam dan intens, saya kurang dapat merasakan kengerian yang ada. Padahal, apabila kengerian itu diciptakan sedemikian rupa (di mana asumsi saya ini merupakan novel dewasa), saya dapat merasakan pelbagai nyeri dan ngeri. Namun, tidak di novel ini. Kendati demikian, patut diakui alur dari novel ini baik. Saya bisa mengikutinya dengan baik, bahkan alur maju dan mundurnya.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debby

    A great history-based book about the dark politics in Indonesia during Orde Baru regime. As the title, "Laut Bercerita" is about Laut, an english Literature student in Yogyakarta who was kidnapped and eventually went missing in 1998. In the Biru Laut chapter, we are told about struggle, betrayal, pain, sorrow. I cried a lot. Really. A LOT! when I read Asmara Jati chapter. On the second chapter shows how the parents and the families still denying that their son, child, husband, etc were gone and wi A great history-based book about the dark politics in Indonesia during Orde Baru regime. As the title, "Laut Bercerita" is about Laut, an english Literature student in Yogyakarta who was kidnapped and eventually went missing in 1998. In the Biru Laut chapter, we are told about struggle, betrayal, pain, sorrow. I cried a lot. Really. A LOT! when I read Asmara Jati chapter. On the second chapter shows how the parents and the families still denying that their son, child, husband, etc were gone and will never return. Glad that I read this book. I recommend this book to be a must-read for anyone especially young reader. Thus, they can know what happened back then and make sure that won't happen again in the future. I received this book as a birthday present, thank you Ery!

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