Review Luka dan Api Kehidupan

Minggu, 15 April 2012





Luka dan Api Kehidupan

by Salman Rushdie, Yuliani Liputo (Goodreads Author) (Translator), Adi Toha (Goodreads Author) (Editor)

Rasyid Khalifa, sang pendongeng legendaris, pada suatu malam mendadak tertidur lelap dan tak pernah bangun lagi, seolah-olah dia berada dalam cengkeraman sang Raksasa Tidur. Demi membangunkan ayahnya dan menyelamatkannya dari sosok makhluk maut yang sedikit demi sedikit menyerap kehidupan sang ayah, Luka, bocah dua belas tahun, harus bertualang ke Negeri Dongeng dan mencuri Api Kehidupan.

Api Kehidupan tersimpan di Pusat Dongeng, di puncak Gunung Pengetahuan yang menjulang di atas Danau Kebijaksanaan, dan dijaga sangat ketat oleh Aalim, tiga penguasa Negeri Dongeng, beserta jajaran Dewa Berperilaku Buruk dari berbagai mitologi dan dongeng. Tak pernah ada yang berhasil mencuri Api Kehidupan dari mereka. Maka dimulailah petualangan dan pertarungan Luka dalam menghadapi rintangan demi rintangan, mengumpulkan nyawa, kehilangan nyawa, menaklukkan level demi level, selayak-nya permainan. Namun, ini bukanlah sekadar permainan, melain-kan penentuan hidup dan mati ayahnya.

Luka dan Api Kehidupan adalah kelanjutan kisah Harun dan Samudra Dongeng. Dalam kisah ini, Salman Rushdie menggabungkan unsur-unsur fantasi, mitologi, permainan kata, dan simbolisme ke dalam jalinan kisah yang menarik, cerdas, seru, dan jenaka. Novel ini layak dibaca oleh siapa saja sebagai bacaan sastra yang bermutu sekaligus dongeng yang indah dan memperkaya hidup.

Luka dan Api Kehidupan adalah kisah indah yang ditulis dengan sangat baik, penuh imajinasi, menakjubkan, dan luar biasa dalam caranya mem-bangun sebuah dongeng ajaib untuk anak-anak yang gemar bermain video game. Buku ini semacam jembatan antargenerasi yang luar biasa, ajaib, dan ditulis dari kedalaman hati.”

—Neil Gaiman, novelis fantasi kenamaan asal Inggris

“Sebuah buku yang mampu merangkul dan menyentuh pembacanya da-lam usia berapa pun, dari anak-anak sampai paruh baya, adalah buku langka sekaligus ajaib. Dan Salman Rushdie adalah pengarang langka sekaligus ajaib.”
—Michael Chabon, peraih Pulitzer Prize, Hugo Award, dan Nebula Award

Serambi 2011

Sica: Akhir tahun lalu, buku terbaru Salman Rushdie terbit juga. Judulnya Luka and The Fire of Life. Ceritanya cocok buat dikisahkan kembali kepada anak-anak. Karena memang Rusdhie sengaja menulis kisah ini untuk anaknya, Milan(13 tahun)

Kalau ada yang pernah membaca Haroun and the Sea of Stories (terbit 1990), nah buku terbaru Rusdhie ini memang sekuel kisah itu. Luka sendiri adalah adik Haroun, berbeda usia 18 tahun.Kini Luka, 12 tahun, harus menjalani petualangannya sendiri.

“You’ve reached the age at which people in this family cross the border into the magical world. It’s your turn for an adventure—yes, it’s finally here!” kata Haroun kepada adiknya.

Petualangan Luka bukan petualangan sederhana, tapi penuh keajaiban. Luka berpetualang dalam dunia dongeng ayahnya, si tukang cerita Rashid Kalifa yang bergelar The Shah of Blah! Kalifa tertidur, nyaris mati, dan Luka harus membangunkan kembali ayahnya dengan berpetualang di dalam dunia cerita Shah of Blah! --omong-omong, Rashid Kalifa yg tertidur lama itu cocok juga dengan kondisi Rushdie yang lama tak menulis buku semacam ini. Kisah Haroen dan Luka berjeda 20 tahun.

Ditemani dua piaraan istimewa, anjing bernama Bear dan beruang bernama Dog, Luka harus mencuri The Fire of Life demi menyelamatkan sang ayah. Dan begitu kita setuju berpetualang bersama Luka, semua tokoh dongeng yang pernah kita tahu, mudah sekali kita temui selama perjalanan itu. Plus, bertemu juga dengan 'hero' masa kini ala-ala terminator gitu. Plus....tukang sihir di dunia Harry Potter. Semuanya dicampur, jadi rada surealis gitu, berasa seperti nonton film Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus gitu deh.

Tentu saja, kisah-kisah dongeng klasik yang pernah kita tahu enggak mentah-mentah digelontorkan Rushdie begitu saja. Banyak twist-nya. Dongeng yang terus menerus diceritakan berulang kali bukan berarti harus selalu punya ending yang sama kan?

Dan Rusdhie pun terasa menyesuaikan kisahnya dengan situasi anak-anak sekarang yang akrab dengan play station. Dalam petualangannya, Luka bisa memencet tombol 'save' di setiap level. Jadi, kalau kelak ia gagal melewati rintangan pada level selanjutnya, Luka tidak perlu mengulang petualangannya dari awal. Hehehe..

Dari petualangan itu, Luka jadi belajar: dia tidak boleh serta merta mengikuti alur kisah dalam dunia dongeng ayahnya agar berhasil menuntaskan misi. Justru Luka harus menciptakan jalannya sendiri, berani memulai petualangannya sendiri, bahkan jika ia harus salah langkah dan mengulang lagi. Pesan yang manis, ya? :D

Aku suka buka ini.Tapi jika harus membandingkannya dengan kisah Haroen, aku lebih suka kisah Haroen, sedikit. :DAku juga suka ama mainan kata-katanya Rushdie. ---Jadi inget Arundhati Roy yang juga melakukan wordplay yang menarik dalam The God of Small Things.

Misalnya saat Luka bertemu dengan koloni tikus, Luka dan bos tikus berdiskusi tentang bagaimana koloni itu membentuk pemerintahannya. Luka tanya "Who choses the Over-Rat?". Si bos tikus menunjuk dirinya. '"It's known as being Over-Rat-ed." Got it? :D

Aku enggak tau, apa efek yang kudapatkan jika aku mengetahui kisah ini ketika masih bocah. Tapi membaca buku ini diusia 30-an, membuatku ingin menceritakan petulangan Luka (dan Haroen) kepada anak-anak kecil.. agar selera baca mereka bisa terselamatkan sejak dini. Hehehe

Cassandra: Luka and the Fire of Life is a modern day fairy tale, complete with evil monsters ( such as the Aalim) and beautiful, powerful women ( specifically, the Insultana of Ott). Rushdie does a masterful job of blending together the modern world and the traditional fairy tale, a feat that is mirrored in the character of Rashid, Luka's father and a professional storyteller, in his creation of the World of Magic. It is in this world, and not the real one where his father is dying, that Luka's adventure takes place.

The pacing of the novel is a bit slow in some spots, but moves quite quickly in others. It would appear that Rushdie allowed his fascination with the World of Magic that he created to distract him from time to time; rarely will one find a real 12-year-old who is as introspective as Luka. It does not help that there are only eight chapters. Splitting it up a bit would have made the slow spots seem less noticeable.

The novel is classified as young adult. Rushdie, however, has said that he hopes this novel“demolishes the boundary between ‘adult’ and ‘children’s’ literature.” I would say that he has done just that. Where he might have lost a younger reader in some of the mythological references or by sticking to closely to a traditional fairy tale format, he blends their world with that of the their parents by structuring the adventure as a video game, with levels to be completed and multiple lives to be lost. The blend is such that both generations are able to learn something about the other; children are given insight into the way their parents think, and parents are allowed to experience the wonder of the World of Magic in the same way their children do.

In my mind, this book is a perfect candidate for parents to read aloud to their children or vice versa.

Sajneesh: The book has been given a unique framework based on video games. It is a story of a little boy 'Luka' who travels through the 'World of Magic' in a quest to retrieve the 'Fire of Life' to save his storyteller father Rashid Khalifa who is the creator 'World of Magic'. In his quest 'Luka' has to finish 9 Levels with the limited lives available and at the end of every level there is a golden button to save the progress. Apart from this interesting framework, the author brings in questions of reality, questions of philosophy, questions of right and wrong. Though the presence of these questions is quite subtle, its interesting to see how 'Luka' thinks about them, always trying to recall what his dad thought him. This also brings out the strong relation between father and son and how important the role of stories is in today's world. Also, the usage of unique names for characters and puns intended gives the read a comical twist

Mary: This is a deliciously written book with a story you can sink into and drift along on. It is rich with mythological figures and tales, as well as many original characters directly from the author's imagination. Luka and the Fire of Life is whimsical and dreamy, even recalling Alice in Wonderland at certain points. I loved it when a little "white rabbit wearing a waistcoat and looking worriedly at a clock" popped up on the bank of the River of Time, for instance.
There are lots of issues broached that have a universal appeal as well, the main issue being the nature of time. In this book time is represented as a river flowing away from the mists of the past and toward the mists of the future. Luka wrestles with the idea of predestination: does the future already exist so that the course of the river follows a predetermined path? Or can our actions shape, even change, the river's flow? Luka is also told that "...if you want to travel up the River, Memory is the fuel you need." This is a very important concept to plant in the mind of a young reader to help him or her realize that memories are much more than the static remains of the past. Rather, they are the seeds of the future and memories are absolutely vital if a person is to grow and reap knowledge from prior experiences. Towards the end of Luka's journey he begins to reflect on something his father had said that before sounded like nonsense: time is not a constant marching forward, one precise second after another. Rather, it speeds up and slows down depending on what you are doing, and it does not mean the same thing to everybody as each person experiences life differently. There are several other issues presented to the reader for consideration, including whether tyranny is excusable or not if created and maintained in the name of respect, if exemption from consequences when following orders is acceptable or not, and how justifiable the sacrifice of innocents is, even if perceived as benefiting the greater good.

I love how thought-provoking this novel is, particularly for young readers, and that the author brings issues to the forefront that are not usually discussed in Young Adult literature. I also appreciate that he does not neatly resolve each issue, allowing the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.
The only problem a reader may run into is the fact that the story does move a little slowly. It is definitely a book you need to fully immerse yourself in and forget about the page numbers. Simply read it to enjoy the experience and the journey.

Ah yes, one more thing I'd like to share: my favorite passage... "Man is the Storytelling Animal, and...in Stories are his identity, his meaning, and his lifeblood. Do rats tell tales? Do porpoises have narrative purposes? Do elephants ele-phantasize? You know as well as I do that they do not. Man alone burns with books."

Vanessa: Okay. So. I was all ready to trash this book after, well, most of it. It is too cute by half. A dog named bear! A bear named dog! Like, shut up! I don't know. I really was finding it more silly and self-regarding than profound. And really, I think that is probably the right conclusion, ultimately. Especially as it enrages me when Rushdie reheats his old books to write a worse version of them. Like, why does he do this? I suppose this is why I am not a fiction writer. It seems like a tough gig. But it did annoy me in that I think doing a half-baked rehash of Haroun and the Sea of Stories somehow takes away from that book, which is a fairly fantastic little gem of a thing. That was a good book, Rushdie! Don't tread on its coattails! Anyway.

However. The themes of this book maybe resonated a lot with my life right now. Hi, goodreads random people! My maternal grandfather is ailing badly, and I do spend a not insignificant amount of time thinking about my own father's age and health. So these themes of wanting to find some supernatural way of saving us all from mortality and death, and especially your beloved but aging father. Well. It maybe made me cry on the lightrail on the way to work a few times. Good times! Anyway. I can't really recommend this book, as I found it objectively cloying and frustrating, but the last fifty pages did manage to sucker me in.

Edit: This was a quote that I liked. So I'm going to throw it up here.

"What an idea. Life is not a drip. Life is a flame. What do you imagine the sun is made of? Raindrops? I don't think so. Life is not wet, young man. Life burns."