The Spirit Journey: Stories and Paintings of Bali

Madi Kertonegoro, Author, Stephanie T. Fried, Editor Wild Trees Press $13.95 (14p) ISBN 978-0-931125-06-5
In this imaginative short-story collection, the artist and folklorist who lives in Bali, Indonesia, recreates lost legends of the village of Tenganan, populated by people who are believed to be descended from the ""original Balinese'' or ``Bali Aga.'' The work also includes humorous sketches of contemporary Balinese life, such as ``Uses of the Rubber Stamp,'' which describes the ``capricious god'' that ``determines your fate'' in a bureaucracy. The old tales are narrated by a magical spirit that travels back and forth in time. The frightening ``Amok!'' unfolds when the spirit overhears a father telling his son about the fate of a man who brutally murdered 16 villagers after he was taken by ``the great Darkness.'' Conversely, in the modern day ``Messenger,'' a humanitarian shadow gives the narrator a letter calling for an end to the arms race and instructs him to share it with ``people of all nations, races, and beliefs.'' By weaving together ancient and modern tales, Kertonegoro effectively demonstrates how mysticism and superstition continue to influence the lives of rural Balinese even as they become increasingly Westernized. Stories are illustrated with reproductions of oil paintings and traditional palm leaf drawings. (April)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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