Book Review: J by Syahmi Fadzil


Syahmi Fadzil

Focusing on the themes of death, loneliness and muzik, we follow Ali, 17, as he deals with the aftermath of J’s sudden death, his best friend and long-time companion.

27, later appears in Ali’s life and suggests that she is J from another reality insisting him to follow through with J’s wishes of performing a song at Mimpi & Kopi, their regular coffee shop and hang out place.

When this information was revealed, I couldn’t stop making comparisons to the popular anime movie ‘Your Name’ that was a major hit in cinemas last year. Trapped between two worlds of different realities and time.

While reading I definitely picked up melancholic vibes that is familiar in many Japanese contemporary literature. I noticed Syahmi’s writing style to resemble the works of Haruki Murakami where he’s known to play around between reality and trance. In his interview, the writer confirms Murakami as one of his inspiration while writing.

What I disliked about the book was nothing about it stood out – not the characters, nor the events that happened. There wasn’t anything memorable I could recall and I didn’t feel the loss of J.

While I want to sing praises for the author for approaching a different style of storytelling, I also didn’t like how I immediately noticed the similarity between this book and Murakamis’. It felt familiar, maybe too familiar?


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