Stealing with the Eyes – out in May 2018

I’m very pleased to see the cover of Stealing with the Eyes, my memoir of anthropology and Indonesia, due out from Haus Publishing in 2018.

The cover image is a photograph I took of Saumlaki harbour in Tanimbar back in 1994. I dug it out of a shoebox and scanned the transparency.

Stealing with the Eyes
Stealing with the Eyes

I’ll say more about the book closer to the publication date. I’ve set up a page for it on this website, although it is currently a bit skeletal. The book is also available for pre-order, including from Amazon.

Prisoners on Tanimbar?

I got home yesterday to find an exciting package waiting for me: a small parcel from France, inside of which was a copy of a French comic dating from the 1960s. It was a copy of Akim (no. 247, to be precise), which started life in Italy as a knock-off copy of Tarzan. Akim ran from 1950 to 1967 in Italy, and had an afterlife in France where it continued to be published until 1991. Issue no. 247 dates from the French period, and the reason I got hold of it is that I’m currently writing a book on the Tanimbar islands in Indonesia, so when I saw that there was a French comic from the sixties telling an exciting tale of  imprisonment in Tanimbar (‘La Prison de Tanimbar’), as a thorough researcher, I thought I had to get myself a copy. Besides, ‘La Prison de Tanimbar’ had a magnificent cover, which I cannot resist sharing. Read more

Tanimbar Medicine in Unmapped Magazine

I’m absolutely delighted to say that my essay on Tanimbarese medicine has been published in the wonderful Unmapped magazine. The essay is about witchcraft, possession, strange octopi that lurk in the stomachs of their victims and crazed Indonesian nuns with syringes. Unmapped is available by subscription, for £2 a month — and it’s a wonderful publication, so do think about signing up.

Read more

Isaac’s Gift

Just a quick email to say that I’ve got a new article online over on Aeon Magazine’s excellent website. The article is about the Tanimbar islands in Indonesia, adat ritual law, gift exchange, and talking lizards.

You can find the link here. Whilst you are at it, it’s worth signing up for Aeon’s RSS feed: they publish a new (and excellent) article every weekday.

Existential Romps with Short Men

It’s now five years since my first novel, [amazon_link id=”0955138426″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Cargo Fever[/amazon_link], was published; and—now that my [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]second novel[/amazon_link] has emerged out into the world—I can perhaps confess that the earlier book is one towards which I harbour both a kind of affection and also a kind of ambivalence. Affection, because I still love the characters, the setting, the strangeness of it all; and ambivalence, because I am still not sure how the book managed to find itself marketed, mistakenly I think, as an adventure yarn à la Wilbur Smith, when I’d always intended it to be more of an existential romp. But there is no shelf in the bookstore marked ‘existential romps’ (although if there were, the world, I feel, would be a better place), and so it has continued to sit on the shelves a little uneasily. Read more


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