Alif had never set foot outside of West Sumatra. He passed his childhood days searching for fallen durian fruit in the jungle, playing soccer on rice paddies, and swimming in the blue waters of Lake Maninjau. His mother wants him to attend an Islamic boarding school, a pesantren
, while he dreams of public high school. Halfheartedly, he follows his mother’s wishes. He finds himself on a grueling three-day bus ride from Sumatra to Madani Pesantren (MP) in a remote village on Java.
On his first day at MP, Alif is captivated by the powerful phrase man jadda wajada. He who gives his all will surely succeed.
United by punishment, he quickly becomes friends with five boys from across the archipelago, and together they become known as the Fellowship of the Manara.
Beneath the mosque’s minaret, the boys gaze at the clouds on the horizon, seeing in them their individual dreams of far-away lands, like America and Europe. Where would these dreams take them? They didn’t know. What they did know was: never underestimate dreams, no matter how high they may be. God truly is The Listener.
The Land of Five Towers
is the first book in a trilogy written by A. Fuadi—a former TEMPO & VOA reporter, photography buff, and a social entrepreneur. He went to George Washington University and Royal Holloway, University of London for his masters. A portion of the royalties from the trilogy are intended to build Komunitas Menara
, a volunteer-based social organization which aims to provide free schools, libraries, clinics and soup kitchens for the less fortunate. To learn more about Komunitas Menara
and their activities, check out www.negeri5menara.com
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