I love books! I love the feel, the smell, the weight of a good book. I love waking up with a book on my face having read until I fell asleep! I love a true story, an inspirational one, but I also love good fiction and am amazed to read something that has come straight from someones imagination. For this reason I rarely don’t finish a book… even if I hate it. In fact there are only a handful (if that), of books that I haven’t finished. I am lent books by friends, gifted books by family and I search for them. I thoroughly enjoy browsing through bookshops and could spend hours wandering along book lined shelves, taking in names and cover art, that is what always what draws me in. Sure, I take recommendations, I read book reviews but I love finding those little gems that I’ve not heard of and that turn out to be wonderful.
This is what happened when I wandered into Ganesha Bookshop in Sanur on my recent trip to Bali. It’s a tiny shop on Jalan Danau Tamblingan and I’m sure I wandered past it several times before noticing it. They sell rare and out of print books on Bali as well as lots of second-hand books left behind or exchanged by the many tourists that pass through here. I spent a long time browsing before settling on a book by an Indonesian author called Oka Rusmini who lives in Denpasar, not far from where I was staying.
Earth Dance tells the story of 4 generations of women and the conflicts that arise as a result of the caste system and their own personal desires. The story follows the demise of several family relationships as a result of ‘marrying up’ for status and leaving behind their old life, name and family or ‘marrying down’ for love and being disowned as if they never existed in the first place. The intricacies of the relationships make for riveting reading, particularly if you already have knowledge of the Balinese caste system.
While the story focuses on the way the caste system controls the way that people live (and love) in the story, in today’s society it plays less of a role when it comes to everyday life and matters of the heart.
I loved this book and would highly recommend it.