Set on an isolated Indonesian island, this is the gripping true story of a fieldworker's experience of living in a tribal society during a period of crisis. Featuring a cast of unforgettable characters, After the Ancestors follows a bitter feud between rivals as it escalates into murder, intrigue and revenge. A vivid account of life within a radically different world, it also portrays a unique culture undergoing the transition from tribalism to modernity. A century of alien rule has left the island, once famous for its warrior ethos, with a hybrid culture. As the possibilities for heroic action recede, men raised to be orators and over-reachers rather than church elders and peasants find themselves occupying a stage too small for their personalities. 'Where can we turn', asks one tribesman, 'we who come after the ancestors?' A revenge tragedy for modern times, After the Ancestors will be enjoyed by anthropologists and general readers alike.
Andrew Beatty teaches in the Department of Anthropology at Brunel University.
List of illustrations; Preface; People; Prologue; 1. The statue; 2. House key; 3. Among women; 4. Blood brothers; 5. Daggers and debutants; 6. Stormy Sunday; 7. Three things that matter; 8. The making of great men; 9. A game of chess; 10. Cholera song; 11. Progress; 12. Strangers and brothers; 13. Exile and return; 14. Field work; 15. The chicken's neck; 16. Good deaths and bad deaths; 17. First family; 18. Blessing; 19. Half an egg; 20. Waiting; 21. Death of a chief; 22. Ama Jonah at bay; 23. Unravelling; 24. The ethnographer and his double; Epilogue.