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11/17/2011 c1 12macabre thoughts
Oh my god. This is AMAZING.

(Yes, allcaps, it's that special.)

I love; the way the story flows, never letting me go, never letting me look away, like a river.

I love; the way you describe colours, assign them feelings, thoughts, sounds.

I love; the non-standard narrator, the political undertones, the tension, and everything else about this story.

This is not a call from the grammar police. This is not constructive criticism. I am unable to think objectively about this story because of the deep emotions that it has stirred in me. I am overwhelmed by the striking, tragic and beautiful imagery you paint.I guess, every now and again, one finds a story that resonates with them completely. I'm having a moment. If I detailed everything that struck me as particularly stunning, I would run out of space. This is just a couple;

- The 'thoughts' in italics - especially the repetition of 'leave him', reinforcing the nature of the woman's situation. It describes what has been going on concisely and quickly.

- The pictures he's painted of her husband, so vivid. Selling them adds a nice passive aggressive touch to the paragraph. Especially the way each work is described not as 'his portrait' or 'a picture of him' - just as 'him', giving it ownership and character.

- Again, the running theme of colours as a definition ties in subtly with the narrator's identity as an artist. I say 'subtly' because it's present in the description right from the start, but the layers don't click together until nearly halfway through. The colours themselves are brilliant.

Even though the climax is dark and highly emotional, the ultimate ending is uplifting in its' implications, giving me hope that she just might come back. It might end well. And I love that I yearn for such a thing to happen. Such a short tale, and I'm so tied up in the characters' lives already. Surely that's the hallmark of a great romance.

Thank you for sharing this.
7/15/2011 c1 6Findus
The opening is to grab the attention and show how the man comes from a society where one has to accept the card dealt which is something he clearly is unable to. The story presents one dilemma, and explores one point in time drawing from the past of the couple but doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere. The man ends up exactly where he started and nothing is resolved.

The main character is obviously very frustrated with the woman and how she is unable or unwilling to break up from her marriage. At the same time he struggles with his own weakness to say no and to cut the relationship off, knowing full well it will never work and he’s waiting for her in vain. So who is the weaker of the two since it seems he is doing the very thing he is accusing her of.

The man mentions having experienced the very thing she is, but as a child. He talks about the bamboo striped scars ‘his mother engraved him with’. But does that put him in a position to judge her? She is like he was as a child, powerless to break away.

It brings up the quest is about accepting one’s fate, not to fight against it. Whether this man’s fate is to let go of the woman or to hang on, I don’t know. The story leaves it open to the reader to implement his/her own personal judgment.

Written from first person’s perspective, directly addressing the woman creating an illusion of intimacy and aiming to bring the reader into the man’s thoughts. But the man’s voice might not be completely believable or genuine, coming across as rather feminine, what with the painting imagery and the emotions

The ending could have been more dramatic or at least offered a solution. Instead it brings the story back right to the beginning with the knock on the door showing how powerless they both are to steer their own lives. They float along. She lets her husband decide her fate and the man just waits.
7/12/2011 c1 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
I absolutely loved this and romance isn't usually my genre. The emotions came through so easily, without being chokingly sweet or ever cliche, and the details seemed so effortless. I hate having nothing constructive to say but honestly, I thought this was fantastic.

Wonderful story, and good luck in the WCC! :)
7/10/2011 c1 Boy at War
The opening scene was an eye catcher, the language used was phenomenal. I also liked that 2nd person perspective you used in the next section. I think it was the 2nd person perspective that made that scene really come alive.
7/8/2011 c1 18Stephanie M. Moore
Oh. This was awesome.

You have so much going on here... the use of imagery with the river was positively gorgeous, and I love the intersection of culture and religion between your characters. You have so many interesting comparisons packed into this short piece.

Second person is a tricky thing, but I think the way you use "you" throughout is just lovely. This is so lyrical and smooth and sort of dream-like/nostalgic, and you frame it so nicely with the river image. Your language is just.. perfect. I may be in love with this piece.

I like the reference to the communists in the beginning, it's a very nice detail, and the discussion and Sharia law in the middle.

Good descriptions of his feelings.. and not too unrealistic. There's nothing about their relationship that screams "this could never happen" at me.

Oh, lovely, strong ending. Really, really good work. Good luck with the contest!
7/8/2011 c1 16Dragon made me do it
Oh wow this is absolutely fantastic I was so surprised to find this piece. well done and good luck in the contest!

Writing style

Your writing style is borderline poetry. It flows so well it is quite refreshing to read. I don't normally read in the romance genre but this is so well written that I don't care what genre it is written in.

I really love:

'I paint the respectable business man as the monstrosity he is. I paint his handsome American face in inflamed vermillion, oxblood red and in bruising purples. I paint him as a rotten jackfruit, as a grotesque Rangda, the demon goddess and sell him to tourists. The vulgar pleasure of knowing that his true face hangs on walls all around the world. My pointless revenge.'

Scene

your opening reference to the 1965 anti-Communist purges is weaved so well into the story. It tells us about what it was like for an individual in a small village, instead of just trotting out the history like a textbook.

the way you describe how people reacted to it 'the resilient people of my village bent their necks and continued dredging the irrigation canals, clearing the riverbanks of decaying remains. Day in, day out, as if waiting for the season to pass'- wow! This is so powerful writing, it portrays just how Truly sad it was.

are you originally from Indonesia? Either way I am amazed because 1.If you are originally from Indonesia, and therefore speak English as a second language this is amazing because your English is flawless and quite beautiful or 2. If you are not, you do such a great job of integrating Indonesian culture and history into this story.

Relationships: your portrayal of the relationships is quite complex. a Western woman stays in a battered relationship while in love with somebody else on the side who tells her she doesn't deserve it and should leave. it is hard to be an outsider who wants to scream at her to leave, and yet somehow you understand that women in this situation rarely do.

'Your yaw so tense a nerve twitches'- is this supposed to be jaw?

Really wonderful story!

Your yaw so tense a nerve twitches
7/7/2011 c1 Lotus-Hua
My God, how do you come up with this stuff? It's always such a thrill reading your writing...the description isn't even good or great, it's lyrical. Your characters are such complex creatures, that I can tell from even the shortest of pieces. It's so fascinating to read their thoughts, their history. The dynamic, especially between your biracial couples is fantastic. I absolutely love the setting of your stories; you paint them so wonderfully I feel as if I am standing right there.

Ah, I just LOVE reading your writing. Will be sure to vote for this piece in the contest. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I have another story of yours to review.

~Lotus-Hua

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