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Book Review: Strings Attached

Through the Mad Tea Book Club, I’ve been so pleased to meet more Indonesian readers and writers (especially women writers). One author I have really enjoyed reading is Firnita. She has two books published by Pop and Ice Cube: Strings Attached (2020), and Shorter Stories (2021).

Twitter Lift

I first met her through the #writerslift which is something fun that happens on Twitter where writers boost each other. I think this is a wonderfully supportive gesture, so we tried it on our book club’s twitter account. That’s where Firnita dropped her most recent book and how Sherry, Krisan, and I got to meet her. Then, funny as things can be sometimes, in the book club meeting that month (it was August), Krisan and I both (coincidentally) brought up Shorter Stories! That’s a sign. A good sign.

So, we decided to start a new segment on our bookclub’s Instagram which is discussion with authors, and Krisan started it off by doing an interview with Firnita. You can check out the whole interview here.

Strings Attached

Strings Attached is written in a genre of which I had never heard before called flash fiction. It’s a collection of many short fiction stories surrounding the theme of romance. The book also has some really modern illustrations which I LOVED. They totally added to the atmosphere of reading the stories.

The first and second section is the fluttering and bliss of being in love, so it will suit you if you are a helpless romantic. To be honest, I’m not a romantic person anymore, so I liked the third section better which was about the despair of break-ups and rejections. Yes, me likes this. Much more realistic.

Despite my personal tastes though, the stories (written in English) were well written and had a lilt to it, something like a slow dance. Firnita did say in the interview with Krisan that she loves music, so this is where it shows.

Q and A with Firnita

To make this article more fun, I decided to ask Firnita several questions about Strings Attached. Here they are.

Airin: How did you get the ideas for the flash fiction stories in strings attached? were some from real-life observation, or from experience, or?

Firnita: The stories in strings attached are mostly my train of thoughts in class for 6 years (haha). The idea is whatever I can finish in that one sitting, that’s it. It’s a collection of pieces from my notebooks: science, English, Bahasa Indonesia, everything. Some of them are real-life observations, movie-watching observations, and experience. It’s a mix of all~

Airin: Why do you find writing in English easier than Bahasa Indonesia?

Firnita: I always feel bad for writing in English because I know I do love Bahasa Indonesia too, but I guess it’s the matter of upbringing. I attended a semi-international school where most of the materials were taught in English, so I got to familiarize myself with English since kindergarden. I do write in bahasa too btw!! Haha.

Airin: I have noticed in my own writing, where I write something from my imagination, and then couple months after then it happens. It’s CRAZY! I am wondering if this has ever happened to you, like suddenly one or two of the stories you wrote happened in real life.

Firnita: OH I’ve heard this too! I can say that some pieces in Strings Attached are my manifestations, but I don’t know whether it will happen in the near/far future. But it happened to me too, just not the pieces in Strings Attached! Nothing specific, but when it happened I felt like I think I wrote this a while ago in my journal. And BAM when I trace back to my old journals, I see that piece manifest in the event that just happened, lol.

Way cool!

To support Firnita, purchase a copy of her books by contacting her.

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Book Review: Cerita Carissa

Character deaths don’t make me cry. It’s character growths that do. And this sweet Indonesian chick-lit definitely made me cry with how much the protagonist has grown from the first page to the last. Written by Krysan Wijaya, a fellow co-founder of the Mad Tea Book Club, Cerita Carissa (Carissa’s Story) centers around Carissa, an aspiring surgeon who is seeking out her dreams and happiness.

Carissa has to deal with a lot of disappointments however, when things don’t go the way she wanted. AHA, you say. Isn’t that life? Life deals you a hand and doesn’t behave the way you want it to behave. Life throws your expectations back at you, shocks you, breaks your heart and your spirit, sometimes even your body. And you have to deal with what’s left, just like Carissa. She was a great gal-she didn’t do anything wrong. Carissa worked hard and tried to reach to the stars for her dreams, but life mocks her and shoves her with rejections and betrayals.

And page after page, heartbreak after heartbreak, Carissa gets back up and tries again. She sees the loopholes in the society around her, finds her way around it, accepts herself, and moves forward. This kind of plot is quite straightforward and simple, but written with so much heart that I assure readers will be able to feel and relate to Carissa’s journey.

Meet the Author!

Q: How old are you, and what do you do now?

I thought it would be fun to get to know the author a bit…so here are some questions I asked Krisan!

Krisan Wijaya, author of Cerita Carissa

A:  I just turned 30, and am currently working as a general practitioner in Solo, Indonesia.

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I wrote my first short story in 6th grade to join a writing competition held by PLN (Indonesia’s national electricity company) back in 2003. I also wrote a YA romance novel in 2005-2006, but it went unpublished.

Q: What was your inspiration for Cerita Carissa?

A: Of course, all fiction are inspired by the truth 🤭 Cerita Carissa was inspired by a toxic relationship I had years ago, though of course the details were different. I was also observing people who stuck with abusive partners, and who treated the idea of meeting the one and getting married as if it was the only reason to live.

Q: What is your next writing project?

A: I am currently revising 2 novel drafts, but it’s hard to make time for writing in the midst of a full-time job and a toddler 😂 I’m also writing a short stories & poems collection (Lang Leav kind of book) about love and heartbreaks.


Support Krisan’s writing and purchase a copy of the book (in Bahasa Indonesia) by contacting the author. Krisan is also a booktuber, and you can check out her awesome book review videos at her youtube channel.