Heaven and Hell
Chaos and corruption, free love, great surf and high times from the rajas to Jokowi
Published by Hardie Grant Books, October 2014.
For a century now, Bali has been the subject of a beautiful mythology created by movies and music, but there are few factual accounts of its transformation from besieged peasant colony to booming tourist mecca. It’s a tale begging to be told: a story of survival in the face of genocide, natural disaster, terrorism, cultural imperialism and corruption on a grand scale.
A far more complex, contradictory and interesting picture than the standard journalistic cliché of paradise lost.
With a surfer’s humour and a journalist’s balance, Jarratt explores Bali’s bloody history, pre-terrorism, its spiritual life and where Australia’s affinity with Bali began.
I set out to write a Bali book like no other, combining my 40 years of personal experience of the Island of the Gods with a comprehensive history that went right back to the rajas and documented in detail the dramatic effects that subsequent waves of tourism have had over the past half century. I first visited Bali in 1974 on a surf trip with some mates who had started a little company called Rip Curl. I fell in love with the waves, the place, the people, and although Bali has changed almost beyond recognition, until Covid my wife and I had visited at least one or two times a year for decades. I’m really proud of this book, and the many layers of the onion – or maybe that should be durian – that it peels back to get beyond the mystique of this intriguing island.