4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2004
I am Balinese and live in Ubud in the cultural center of Bali.
In the Eighties I used to see Fred Eiseman, with a notebook and pen in his hand, at temple ceremonies all over the island, and in my restaurant, taking voluminous notes. I often wondered what he was up to.
Now I know. He has produced the most detailed descriptions yet of most aspects of Balinese life and culture. He lives down in Jimbaran on the south coast, so many of his descriptions relate particularly to that area - practices change a bit in different places.
He understands the Balinese language, which is not the case with many academics, who visit Bali briefly and write learned treatises, and don't always get it right.
Fred's book is extremely well researched, and my only criticism is the detail (in places) and the repetition. That is because the book is a collection of essays. It does mean, however, that you can dip in and out of any chapter. They are self-contained, and that is useful.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 1999
Although it won't tell you where to stay or which restaurant to visit, the book is a great, unpretensious guide to the elaborate daily rituals of the Balinese, written by an American who's developed something of an obsession with Bali. It offers the clearest descriptions available of mask making, Balinese dance, temple rituals and offerings. The book is so good you'll find it on every coffee table in Bali.