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Book Review: When technology takes over human life

Intan Tanjung
Intan Tanjung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, June 22, 2016  /  04:16 pm
Book Review: When technology takes over human life

"Kerumunan Terakhir "(The Last Crowd) is the latest novel by Okky Madasari released this year. (Shutterstock/-)

How do you explain technology and its presence in human life? Okky Madasari does it well in her latest novel, Kerumunan Terakhir (The Last Crowd).

Like her previous novels, Kerumunan Terakhir also tells the story of a victim of repression. But this time, the victim -- as well as the story's protagonist – is an ordinary man whose life reflects the lives of most modern people who are way too connected to technology.

Okky introduces Jayanegara, who runs from one crowd to another. Addicted to the internet and social media, Jayanegara creates an alter ego named Matajaya and buries himself deep in the virtual world. Through Matajaya, Jayanegara builds a “life” of his own, creating stories of his imaginary experiences and shares it with his networks. He builds this fake life on the internet to get away from real life, and living a life under the shadow of his father, whom he hates very much.

Through Jayanegara’s story, Okky wants to show readers how technology rules and affects human lives, even without them realizing it. She also illustrates how modern people always look to the future, see what’s ahead and leave the past behind them.

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“This novel started from an idea, my anxiety to write about humans and society, which are chained to technology,” she said.

The idea to write about this phenomenon came after she finished writing her novel Pasung Jiwa (Bound). From there, Okky started to create characters and build the overall story. Throughout the writing process, she rewrote the story three times and changed the main character once despite having already written many pages.  

“That’s why it took me three years to write this,” said Okky, who is also known as a productive novelist, publishing one book a year.

“My novel is divided into three major parts, which I called: First World, Second World and Two Worlds Collide. I have no problem writing about the First World, but writing the Second World is a new thing for me. I have to be able to tell about the life on the internet and social media. Also, I should be able to describe the internet life through the mind of its users and compare it to the real world,” Okky told The Jakarta Post via email.

Through her exceptional writing skills, Okky peels the phenomenon layer by layer and profoundly describes how communication technology started to enter and take over human’s lives.

(Read also: Calling all writers to give voice to the voiceless through literature)

Literature aficionados might be interested in reading further to understand how modern people respond to the development of communication technology through her deep insight. But those who read to be entertained may find this novel too confusing, as the stories often jump from Jayanegara’s imaginative story to his real life and struggles to get out from his father’s shadow.

Despite it all, Okky has conveyed the phenomenon well, as technology is very hard to follow because it changes at the speed of light. (kes)

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