Buku CERPEN ini menghimpunkan 17 cerita pendek dan juga 3 skrip filem pendek yang dihasilkan oleh Nadia Khan. Kebanyakannya ditulis dan diterbitkan di pelbagai majalah dan akhbar sebelum novel sulungnya KELABU muncul pada Disember 2011.
Cerita-cerita dalam kumpulan ini banyak berkisar tentang cinta, keluarga, sahabat dan kerjaya. Turut diselitkan cerpen-cerpen yang diilhamkan oleh hidup penulis sendiri sebagai pelajar dan orang yang berkhidmat dalam bidang perubatan dan pendidikan.
Cerpen is a compilation of short stories and some short film that the author had written and some of them had been published in several local magazine. List of the short stories as follows; Mana Dia Pergi; Puaka Pak Jaha; ‘Pinjam Masamu, Kak’; Lara Di Hati; Cikgu Din; Teleportasi ; Janji Kak Long ; Nasi Putih Daging Cincang; Epilog Damak; Anak Dinihari; Cili (Skrip); Kopi Tiga Suku (Skrip); Budak Baru (Skrip); PWTC; Kopi Kola; Kopi, Adele dan Bubur Ayam McD; Cinta Sekeping Tisu; Ada Apa dengan Kina’; Nakahari; and ‘Amacam?’. I had intended to review individually from the multiple of stories but I can’t seem to find myself wanting to.
Nadia Khan is possibly the most promising author among the Fixi line-up that was recommended to me by others. I was a bit wary of Kelabu since the book doesn’t interest me one bit and I usually don’t like doing negative review. I wanted to sympathise since I do share a somewhat medical background but I can’t be a critical reader without giving my own views on an author’s own writing. Personally, the book possibly lack flair and enticement despite the interesting cover it have. The cover is possibly the most interesting part of the book and the one page introduction between the titles as the second most.
I read Cerpen in possibly the fastest way I could do on anthology in under several hours allocated to it. As a new reader to the author, I do see the allure of some casual readers to the book and the writing is quite linear and refreshing to read. However, despite having multiples storyline in one book, I couldn’t even find even one story that I was interested in. Probably because the amount of the stories doesn’t show the exact content that it require to be a decent reading.
It does began to get repetitive although I do notice some slight improvement to the structure and the cliffhanger skills which is small surprise but not long enough to leave an impression. Like an average sensationalist pulp fiction, Nadia’s style made the book too pulpy that wasn’t worth the pages it contain and I’m sure everyone know what Pulp Fiction really meant.
Unfortunately, a lot of these stories can be told in one page and frankly the one page introduction in the beginning of the chapter is the only thing worth reading than the stories themselves.
By dwelling too much on building up story but never delivers and often ended without a proper ending or denouement at least, I can’t find myself praising the author as a storyteller. In addition to that, the stories began to sound completely alike especially the characters despite name changes. I was left with a sort of emptiness right after I read these stories because I couldn’t connect to it as I usually do even on short Ezra Pound-like poems. I know some of the stories is a bit familial in nature or friends or romance or a quest or reminiscent of someone’s past.I was reading it in a fresh perspective with no skepticism or what so ever but it took me across 200th something pages that I began an itch to write a proper plot progression for the stories that I felt the cliffhanger is too much unnecessary until the end. Other than that, after several pages on the stories, I find such stories have been overused by so many people who all of these sounded so much alike.
Its like blowing up a balloon halfway and then start another one and another one until you’re left with a bunch of half-blown tied up balloons on the floor that can’t bounce properly and when you’re out of balloons, you realized that “Hey, I could have filled with more air but I already tied it up.”. That was what I was feeling. In expressive words; Predictable. Lack substance. No structure. Minimal plot progression. Some similar and some underutilized characterizations. Overuse unnecessary cliffhangers.
Honestly, I felt that the book is like a student’s exercise or a beginner writer’s journal that was filled with amateurish attempts that was not meant to be published even when some of those attempts go into competitions or magazines. Throwing all of the story to the crowd and expect some fan response out of it is quite demeaning.
I read a bunch of anthologies myself. I would have prefer for a smaller size collection of 4 or 6 stories and turn it into novella length each (which is one proper novel length actually) and then if it succeeded, try with another set of stories. With the brag of “17 short stories and 3 short film”, I do feel its more a miss than a hit. But I do see a good writer, only that she need a good muse.