NOVEL REVIEW: Di Situ Langit Dijunjung by Hanna Alkaf






Eiyo friends,

How was your weekend? I had just finished reading a semi-historical novel titled Di Situ Langit Dijunjung (DSLD). And now I would like to share with you my thoughts of the novel.

DSLD is a novel hinged on patriotism, written by Hanna Alkaf and translated by Fahmi Mustaffa, and published this year by Fixi Verso. Hanna Alkaf is a Malaysian writer, who graduated in 2007 from Northwestern University, Illinois, USA, with a major in Mass Communications. Hanna Alkaf used to work for Marie Claire Magazine. Before Hanna Alkaf wrote DSLD, she wrote a non-fiction book titled Gila: A Journey Through Mood And Madness. The book was published by Gerak Budaya in 2016.

DSLD is Hanna Alkaf's first novel. The novel was first written in the English language with the title "The Weight Of Our Sky" (TWOOS). TWOOS was published by Salaam Reads and Simon and Schuster in early 2019. TWOOS received good reviews from its readers and is also listed as one of the best selling English-Malaysian novels this year. Due to the good reviews,  TWOOS is now adapted into an online webtoon series (see link). 

DSLD tells the story of a 16-year-old high school girl named Melati. She was an only child, happy and blessed with love and good parents. Her father, Ahmad, was a police officer, and her mother, Salmah was a nurse. One day, Melati's father died in a tragic incident. This was a turning point in Melati's life, and she became a depressed child. After her father's death, Melati was always visited by a demon. The demon stayed in Melati's mind. The demon always tried to demotivate her and made her feel useless as well as a bad person. The demon also painted gruesome visions and persistently foretold Melati that her mother was about to have a gruesome death. Soon Melati began to fear for her mother. To keep her mother safe, Melati must do the ritual that the demon told her. Melati must count one, two, three...... and repeat one, two, three.......she could only stop when the demon told her it was safe. Most people believed that Melati was an insane child. But Melati's mother disagreed with that. Puan Salmah always motivated and comforted Melati, telling her that everything was going to be fine and that she was not a useless child like the demon told her. Melati became more depressed after she lost her best friend, Safiyah during the May 13, 1969 incident. Melati was also separated from her beloved mother during that day. Melati was saved by a kind-hearted Chinese woman named Mrs. Chong/Auntie Bee during the incident. Auntie Bee took Melati to her home. At Auntie Bee's home, Melati became good friends with Auntie Bee's youngest son, Vincent Chong. However, Melati was still depressed and always thought about her mother. The demon in her head also kept telling her how useless she was. Melati then decided to go on a mission to search for her mother.








It is at this point that the author relates Melati's story with the May 13, 1969 incident. This incident is a real-event in modern Malaysia's history. It was the most serious, riotous and violent racial strife, particularly between the Chinese and the Malays in Malaysia. This May 13 incident is also known as the 'darkest day' of Malaysia. The incident took place in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor. The riot occurred in the aftermath of the 1969 Malaysian General Election. Before the 1969 General Election, the government coalition,  the Alliance Party (Perikatan) faced critical challenges from the opposition parties, Gerakan and the Democratic Action Party (DAP). The atmosphere during the election campaign was fueled and fired with numerous racial events and issues that created a tense situation in the country. However,  the Alliance Party still won the election, but with a small victory. The opposition parties, especially DAP was not happy with the GE result and labeled it unfair. As a result, the Chinese decided to taunt the Malays and attempted to take over the country. This erupted into a bloody racial riot that caused many deaths and injuries to both communities. No wonder the May 13 incident is regarded as independent Malaysia's darkest day, and to this day race and religion became delicate issues that need to be balanced with care, patience, and intelligence by all sectors, especially politics.

DSLD is a novel about unity, patriotism, nationalism, history, love, kindness, and courage. The author is trying to tell us that no matter what race and religion you are, whether you're a Malay, Chinese, or even Indian, as long as you are born in Malaysia, you are a Malaysian. Malaysia is your country. Malaysia is a country with different races and religions (that's the beauty of Malaysia). There is no need to discriminate or fight with each other. All we need to do is work together to build this country and nation, and respect each other. "Di Mana Bumi Dipijak, Di Situ Langit Dijunjung" is a Malay idiom, and it means "on which soil we stand on, that is where we carry the weight of the sky".

The May 13 incident also made Melati realized that she was actually a strong and courageous girl just like her mother. She was not at all useless like the demon told her. After the tragic incident, Melati assisted Auntie Bee helping people who are in need, helping Vincent save some lives. She also saved a little Chinese girl's life and found her mother at the end of the story. Melati finally fought off the demon in her and was able to control herself. I think that is what the author is trying to tell us. We all have a demon living in us, telling us bad things and tries to demotivate us. It is only with our own courage that we can fight the demon, and only we can control ourselves.

Hanna Alkaf's writing is brilliant. Her writing makes me, a gen Y youth, learn about the May 13 incident. The author successfully transports me back to 1969 and makes me experience the hardship of the time. Reading DSLD makes me feel grateful. I can also empathize with Melati's character. Like Melati, I am also an only child, close to my father, and I have a best friend who I am close to since standard one in Primary School. Reading Melati's expression makes me able to imagine how hard it is to lose a beloved father and a best friend.

To me, DSLD is a beautiful novel. It is a novel every bookworm should not miss. The novel has a good storyline, and it is fast-paced with good social and moral values. Overall I rate DSLD 10/10.

Ok, that's all for now. By the way, if there's anyone of you who has read DSLD, do share with me your opinion about this novel. Thank you for reading this review and have a good day.

XoXo,

Fadima Mooneira ^_^

#DiSituLangitDijunjung #HannaAlkaf #FixiVerso #NovelReview #FadimaMooneiraLibrary #Edutainment #FadimaMooneiraBlogspot

Ps:

1) For local readers who are interested to purchase Di Situ Langit Dijunjung by Hanna Alkaf, click this link

2) For foreign readers who are interested to purchase The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf, click this link

3) For comic lovers who are interested to read the webtoon series,  click this link



Related Post

BOOK REVIEW: Young And Malay






Comments

  1. Sounds very interesting though outside of my usual genre. I was born in the Bahamas in a year which doesn't allow automatic citizenship to children with non Bahamian parents. So it's good that Malaysia is unified in their acceptance.

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    1. Thank you for your comment and info sharing on Bahamas. Bahamas is a beautiful country.

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  2. Thank you for the very detailed review! This sounds interesting.

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  3. This is a very interesting story to read especially to person like me who dont read novel. Anyway thank you so much for sharing these 💕☺️✌️

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    1. If you are not into novels, you try reading the webtoon. The webtoon is awesome. Just click on the link above.

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  4. last i baca novel pun dah lupa bila.tapi you deserve to review the novel as it ur passion.goodluck syg!

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  5. Secara jujur, sudah lama saya tak baca novel. Tapi bila baca review tentang novel ni rasa menarik pula, maybe I should read this novel later :)

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    1. Yes. You should. It’s one of the best novel of 2019. You can check the links on this post if you would like to purchase the novel online or even read the webtoon.

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  6. Novel sebegini jarang yang akan membeli dan membaca. Terima kasih sudi share novel yang memberi inpirasi.. hehe

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  7. Good review from you because I'm not at reader because especially novel but bila baca kat sini dah boleh faham tentang kisah buku Di Situ Langit Di junjung...

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  8. macam menarik novel nih, free2 nanti nak terjah book store dan cari novel2 best thanks sharring

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    1. Yay!!!!!!!! I second that bookworm 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

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  9. This sounds like a very very interesting read. I will definitely be looking this one up. Your review makes it sound like something I would like :)

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    1. Yay! I highly recommend this novel to you. It’s one of the best novels I read in 2019. It’s a novel all bookworm must not miss. You can click the link it this blog to grab the English version. Tq for your comment.

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  10. macam seronok novel ni. ada kaitan dengan sejarah malaysia. terbaiklah. bolehlah saya baca lepas ni walaupun macam tak ada masa nk membaca. hehe :) thanks share ya.

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    1. Yo go bro!!!!!!!! I highly recommend you to read this novel. You’ll love it!

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  11. Zaman dulu memang sis suka baca novel, skrg ni dh tak ada masa nak membaca, berbelas tahun gak rasanya tak baca novel. Tapi anak sis suka lah..bolehlah suruh dia baca

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    1. Cadangan terbaik. Tapi Buku nie byk adegan violence juga tau. It’s surau ke for 15 years old above.

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  12. macam nak cari jugak buku ni sebab masa kecik saya ada dengar juga kisah 13 may nih ...arwah ibu saya juga ada beli rumah banglo dari sebuah keluarga cina sebab dia nak tolong keluarga cina tersebut meyelamatkan diri...walaupun diorang tak salah

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story. That’s good to know.

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  13. TQ for sharing n review... Habis Mat Drat baca.

    Drat bukanlah penggemar novel sangat tetapi kalau novel berunsurkan patriotism mmg minat la.

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    1. If you aren’t into novel, you can try reading the webtoon. The link is in this post.

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  14. novel saya kurang sangat dah nak baca, lately suka baca buku untuk self enhancement. tapi menarik dari sinopsis buku ni.

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  15. nice synopsis! something that maybe i can read. at first i wonder why u said that the booked translated by fahmis mustafa i just wonder why need to be translate and when i read through it was from an english novel. it is nice to translate a novel, it is easier for those not really into english novels reader to read.

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    1. Yep, that’s the reason Fixi Verso translate the novel. Nak galakan bahasa melayu readers to read the book also.

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  16. Sounds like a really heavy premise but ultimately an inspiring book.

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    1. Yep, it is. Hanna Alkaf’s writing is brilliant.

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  17. Great review! You captured the story and made it so interesting that I'd love it to read it too.

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  18. Woww the book sounds very interesting and theres a webtoon with it! Would surely add this to my future read. Great share!

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  19. Thank you so much for this! Although I don't really read novel, I think the last novel I read was, 30 guys in 30 days but that was back when I was in high school. Then I read recipes more!
    But thank you for your time & effort! Appreciate that! I am expecting for readings from you! So I can read what you read~

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    1. Auww!!!!!!!! That is so sweet of you. I will keep on sharing reviews on my favourite books. Tq.

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  20. i was really into books. fiction, more specifically. this one sounds great and entertaining. i wish i could get into reading again.

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    1. If you really wanna get into reading...... I am rooting for you. Reading is an important hobby.

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  21. Tahniah Fadima kerana selesai baca satu buku. Complete reviewnya. Novel ni boleh layan masa santai2 time weekends. Saya pula dah lama sgt tak baca novel tapi saya baca juga dolu2. Skarang more to personal development books.

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    1. I also read personal development books. It’s important too.

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  22. I love reading book... Tak kisah lah English me Malay ke... Saya pun suka. Especially motivation and novel. I pun nak cari buku ni dah. Macam best aje

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    1. Yeah! You can click the link I provided on this post if you want to purchase the novel online.

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  23. Reading your review and the synopsis of the novel makes me teruja and rasa nak baca juga novel ni. Last week pegi Kinokunia x perasan pula novel ni. Btw, i need to check out the webtoon episode 1-3 first. Kalau betul2 citer dia menambat hati baru i beli novel ni. Tq for providing the links btw.

    -Hezliyana-

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  24. Dah lama sangat tak baca novel. Nampak menarik ulasannya. Nanti nak cari novel ni. Kalau ada masa bleh habis sehari baca. Kalau tak ada masa, makan masa berbulan-bulan. Haha

    ReplyDelete

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