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My parents were American missionaries to Indonesia, where I was born and raised and still live with my family. In 1965, as a nine-year boy living in Bali, I was an eye-witness to the madness that swept over the country and the island after a failed communist coup, during which tens of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered.
One rainy day in December, a man I’d never seen before hunched on the parlor sofa in my parent’s house in Klungkung, east Bali. He reeked of fright: acrid, bitter, biting. He was silent, hands clasped between his knees. A former member of a Communist party’s community organization, he was helpless, hopeless, marked for death, a marking that painted not by gray-skinned pallor but by stink. I’ll never forget that smell. My latest book is about that time: BONES OF THE DARK MOON, a contemporary novel exploring the massacres of 1965, a tragedy that is not part of the Bali myth and is unknown to most visitors and even younger Balinese themselves.
I grew up reading whatever I could get my hands on. I wrote my first my first short story when I was six-years-old about a yawn that traveled around the world. I also went to the beach a lot and surfed. I attended college in the US and then bailed out of a marine geology PhD program due to technical difficulties with my soul, which did not want to be shackled to a career. I ended back in Bali, writing and surfing (as a writer, I am best known for my YA novel THE KILLING SEA, about the Asian tsunami but I have other great books out there too). I also spend a good deal of my life looking for things, such as my sunglasses, which sometimes are to be found propped up on my head.
on Jan. 02, 2011 :
The Last Witch of Manhattan is a buckle-your-seatbelt kind of ride with more twists and turns and interweaving than a box full of pretzels. Mr. Lewis throws everything but the kitchen sink at you, including the statues in Central Park. Surprisingly, and enjoyably, he makes it work.
Part supernatural, part sci-fi, part thriller, it is a complex, and might I add fresh, blend of science, Balinese and Judeo-Christian mythology centered around the proverbial clash between good and evil.
Much of the enjoyment I found in Last Witch was the depth and complexity of all the characters, both major and minor. They have their quirks, their foibles, their moments of insanity. One minute you like them, the next you don't and the moment after that, you're not so sure which way to go. This was a real treat.
There was also some very good writing in here. Descriptions that didn't bog the story down, rich metaphors and more than a few laughs.
Last Witch is definitely a must read.
(reviewed long after purchase)