Friday, July 19, 2013

Bali, Java, in My Dreams

Rummaging through a second-hand bookshop in Ulladulla today, I found this beautifully written book by Christine Jordis.

From ancient temples to the muddy streets of Jakarta, from the volcano to the mini-cab, Christine Jordis leads an intoxicating, sensual tour of Indonesia.Relying on atmosphere and sensation over fact and statistic, Christine Jordis has written a deeply personal, vividly impressionistic account of several journeys to the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java. Dazzled, wide-eyed, but always astute, Jordis describes famous monuments, native dances, encounters with locals. She conjures up the various literary and artistic figures who sought refuge and inspiration in Indonesia - Arthur Rimbaud, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad - and brings ancient legends to life. She chronicles fascinating sociological observations and historical curiosities, but it is Jordis' sensual, emotional responses to her surroundings that most distinguish Bali, Java, in my Dreams from the average East-meets-West travelogue. From the heart of the lush tropical forests, Jordis guides her readers through the technicolor paradise that makes Paris seem grey in comparison. Ultimately, it is these very colours that infuse her life - and her readers' lives - with new meaning.