Negeri 5 Menara is a novel that is written by Ahmad Fuadi, a former TEMPO and VOA journalist. This is the first book from a trilogy that is written based on the author’s life.
This novel first publish in 2009, and it’s got several awards, there are : Nomination of Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2010, The most favourite author and fiction, and Anugerah Pembaca Indonesia 2010.
This novel is really spectacular, because its sales has became one of the Gramedia record for most sales book which has been achieved during 36 years, that is only for less than 2 years this novel has been published 10 times with the total printing more than 170.000 copies. Like the other Indonesian famous novels, Negeri 5 Menara is going to filmed too. It is expected, in 2012 this film can be released.
This novel tells about Alif Fikri Chaniago when he studied in Pondok Madani (PM) Ponorogo, East Java which is so far away from his house Maninjau. Then, at there he finally got 5 best friends from the different regions, Raja Lubis from Medan, Said Jufri from Surabaya, Dulmajid from Sumenep, Atang from Bandung dan Baso Salahuddin from Gowa. In PM they always gathered under a mosque tower in the afternoon and they told about their own dreams each other. And they promised to make their dreams come true oneday.
This novel presents there is no impossible thing to do in this world, as long as we belive in our selves, and maximalize our effort. This spirit I found when Alif was a student in PM. His teacher told him “a mantra” man jada wa jada, which is the meaning is “ who is earnestly to do something he/she would be succeed”. Actually this saying is an arabic wise word or also called mahfudhat. This saying was the first lesson that every freshmen got in the first year, and this saying also really made all of the PM student encouraged especially Alif. Alif as a main character always remembered this saying and he made this saying as “a machine” which could encourage him as he felt down, and a motivation to make his dream come true. Because of this powerful saying, all of the student could not be lazy. It was hard to find a lazy student at there. Moreover, in several days before final test, Alif and all of his 6 grade’s student always study, every day and every time. Whenever they went they always brought a book. As if they were not felt tired at all. In this part, I realize how powerful words and motivation are. And this was made me belive whether we are good is depend on the environment sorrounding us.
Ahmad Fuadi shows that Islamic boarding school or Indonesian call Pesantren is as well as the public school. In this novel I found that at first Alif didn’t want to go to Islamic boarding school, because he thought that the alumnus could being only an Ustadz as other people thought. And go to there was not his want, because actually he wanted to go to Public school, then go to ITB in tend to make his dream come true that is being an engineer like Habibi. But because of many things finally he decided to go to PM and in there he had got his mindset about Islamic boarding school changed. He realized that what he thought about Islamic boarding school is wrong. He got more then he expected at there. I am entirely convinced that is true. What is Ahmad Fuadi told is true. Islamic boarding school’s education quality is not worse than Public school. Additionally, he makes as if study in Islamic boarding school is more joyfull than any other institutions. Factually, on the contrary the Islamic boarding school teach many other lessons that are not be taught in public school. But, this thing is not an important thing to be discussed because everyone has absolutely different ideas and needs. And both of them have their own superiorities.
Another way that we can not underestimate a dream. Alif and his friends had such impossible dreams, but in the end all of them came true. It could be because of their hard working and also their believes in their own abililties. I think this is a good moral lesson for me who sometimes still don’t belive in a dream. But, a dream is only be a dream if we don’t make an effort to make it come true. So, in my opinion dream is important but it is not everything. Dream is a first step to make life become more meaningful.
Friendship is another interesting thing that I found in this novel. Ahmad Fuadi the author tells how precious a friendship is. The 6 boys were from the different regions and cultures, but in PM they can palled up and be best friend. They were always together, helping each other, and ecouraging as one of them feel down or even sad. But, it was so touched when Baso, one of shahibul menara member, had to go out from PM because his the only one family member, his grandmother, got sick. He prefered look after his grandmother and go out from PM. This is one of the part story that is so interesting, I think. Only in this part Alif and his several friends cried. As I read this part I really imagine as if I were Alif, so I felt sad and I felt as if I had lost my best friend forever.
Sometimes I also laughing as read several parts in this novel. Ahmad Fuadi clearly figures out what really happened at that time in PM, include the funny parts. I really enjoyed this novel, and it is easy to know what was going on. The author make his novel easy to read, easy to understand. In this novel also I found some knowledge that I’ve never known before.
At first, I’ve never predicted I would find a great story in this novel. Negeri 5 Menara give me many expereinces and new things that I’ve never got before. After I finished read this novel, I felt as if I’ve just graduated from PM. Story which is presented really makes me as if I get involve into that story. And this makes me can not wait for a long time to read the next novel of the trilogy.
Overall, this novel is not only a fiction novel, but this novel also as a summary of the author’s precious life when he was in PM. And for the most part I enjoyed reading this article, and I think I must read it when I feel down and lazy. Because this novel really teach us to hard-working to have got our dreams come true. And at the end, I also would recommend this novel to be read, especially for a student who has a big dream like Alif Fikri and people who like reading an encouraging novel.