Ever since I visited Bali in 1997, I've been hooked on anything Bali--gamelan music, the wayang puppets, the masks, the smell of kretek ( I don't smoke) and incense, frangipani flowers,... even the sputtering sound of motorcycles! I got my hands on all the National Geographic issues on Bali I could lay my hands on in second-hand bookshops .
When I found this book, I was almost certain I wasn't going to be disappointed. I was right. Consider, for instance, the blurb at the back of the book: "The graveryard, moreover, was a natural meeeting-place for witches and sorcerers, for every village had its suspects, owneres of books of spells that enabled the reader to change himself into a leyak--a ball of fire, a giant rat, or even a riderless motor cycle that travelled backwards. In this magic state sorcerers were indeed dangerous; they could send a man out of his wits or bring him to a lingering death."
Written by a musician, it doesn't fare so badly as a literary read. It captures the magic, mysticism, and soul of a place. A Bali experience is a sensory overload. Colin McPhee happily immersed himself in it and did a very impressive job.