Pada 1875 Ann Eliza Young menulis sebuah memoar yang sangat menggegerkan Amerika, Wife No. 19 yang memaparkan hidupnya sebagai isteri ke-19 Brigham Young, pemimpin gereja LDS (Latter Day Saint). Tak pelak, memoarnya itu membuat beberapa pihak merasa panas. Kemudian, muncul beberapa tulisan balasan yang bertujuan menangkis tuduhan tersebut.
Melalui the 19th Wife, David Ebershoff mencoba mengangkat kembali masalah poligami di Amerika yang tak kunjung usai. Dipadukan dengan kisah pembunuhan yang terjadi di dalam lingkungan penganut LDS, novel ini mengungkapkan betapa keyakinan merupakan sebuah misteri yang tak mudah untuk dipahami.
Bentang Pustaka 2009
Saya: I'm on page 365 of 514 of The 19th Wife: Hari Pernikahanku: Bringham Young, sang Nabi gereja Mormon menikahi Ann Elizabeth Webb yg cantik jelita...ini istrinya yang ke-19 kira2, tapi siapa yg peduli? Tugas pertama Ann sebagai nyonya Young adalah mengunjungi komunitas Orang2 Suci Zaman Akhir di suatu lembah yg sedang kena musibah.
Dini Meandrianawati: Terbit pertengahan November. mo ikut kuisnya dari bentang malas dah ngetag temen2 lagi. mana yang kemaren sang pemimpi kaga menang. amsyong =(
Dari FB Bentang :
The 19th Wife karya David Ebershoff. Sebuah novel pemenang Rosenthal Foundation Award ini menggambarkan cerita kelam kehidupan poligami sebuah keluarga pengikut Aliran Mormon Fundamentalis. Novel ini terinspirasi dari perjuangan Ann Eliza Young menghapuskan poligami dari Aliran Mormon pada tahun 1875. Alur cerita yang melewati dua periode waktu ini tetap terasa dekat karena pemahaman Ebershoff yang mendalam akan fakta sejarah yang ada. Novel ini merupakan perpaduan apik antara sejarah lengkap sebuah aliran, karakter fiktif yang kuat dan tak terlupakan, serta pertanyaan mendalam terhadap sebuah keyakinan.
Nancy Oakes: Talk about timing -- with the big raid a month ago at the Yearning For Zion ranch and all of the news from that event, this book is going to sell, big time. Personally, I'm fascinated with the whole issue of polygamy -- not that I'd want to do it, but I do wonder why others subject themselves and furthermore, I wonder why the government hasn't just come right out and reminded law enforcement that polygamy is illegal and that leads to my wondering why this is still going on. The whole brainwashing thing eludes me as well, but then again, the issues brought up in this book are part of the reason I shy away from any sort of organized religion. Ebershoff may have written fiction, but the issue of brainwashing is very real. Take the Yearning For Zion thing in Texas -- the women there were scared to death of having to live on the outside because of all the things they are taught about the real world while they are under the sway of the FLDS leadership at the ranch. Or in the novel -- it's rife with examples of how the church leadership managed to convince some seemingly intelligent women that they needed to share their husbands with other women, sometimes under the same roof. It's all about salvation, you know? Fantasy camp for men; for women and especially for their children, well, what can I say? Sorry about the diatribe, but you know, the whole polygamy thing has a tendency to rankle me, and I appreciate Ebershoff's book -- it pointed out the many issues about this practice justified in the name of salvation.
So now that I've ranted, the book is structured so that there is a present-day mystery that focuses on a woman who has been arrested and imprisoned for killing her husband. It turns out that she is the 19th wife, and her estranged son reads about her arrest on the internet. Seems that when he was younger, he was tossed out of the local polygamist community, "The Firsts," where they believed they were carrying on the mission of the first and true LDS church, when polygamy was the norm. So off he trots to Utah to see his mother and then gets involved in trying to prove her innocence. At the same time, there is another thread running in this book, the story of another 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young, who married Brigham Young and then squared off against him and the whole polygamy issue publicly. The present-day story is minor compared to Ann Eliza's story, beginning with her mother's conversion to Mormonism and then her descent into the hell that was polygamy after the prophet had a revelation from God that men should take more than one wife. The two stories are interspersed, but Ann Eliza's story is (imho) the better of the two. More than the present-day story, her story had me glued to the book.
The characters were well drawn and Ebershoff did a fine job with the whole polygamy thing, especially describing the plight of the children from polygamous marriages. This is not something I probably would have picked up at a bookstore, but the topic intrigued me and the story got my dander up. I would say that Ebershoff's done his job as a writer -- getting the reader very involved. Personally, if he'd have left it with the story of Ann Eliza, I probably would have liked it better.
I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in the topic of polygamy, and if you liked this one, try Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven.
Thanks to Librarything for allowing me to read this before it's released.