"In their peaceful introspection the Balinese people struggled in a nation devoid of logic and so blinded by religious lunacy it could no longer hear the rhythm of life for the pounding drums of corruption and greed".
For Martin Wilson-Jones it all was over. It was time to go.
Graham Butchart lives in Queenstown, New Zealand. He is currently working on the sequel to Acrobats of Reason.
Reviewed by Paul Parker
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Thursday 03 February, 2011
I found Acrobats of Reason an enthralling read of corporate collapse and corruption set in the tropical paradise of Bali.
I found the book interesting in that Martin who we view the book through, is a person of character who has a comprehension of the Indonesian psyche, in stark contrast to Neil, the corporate high flyer and Martins boss who is portrayed as a shallow and narcissitic person, ignorant of Indonesian culture.
I think for me the book provides an exploration of the cultural divide between east and west and the varying nuances that exist, which Martin provides an insight to.
You can sense the fear and stress through Martin as their corporate world disintergrates before them, culminating in the Bali bombings.
A highly recommended read.
Reviewed by Jason Stephens
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Tuesday 01 February, 2011
Acrobats of Reason reminds me almost of an old-fashioned potboiler with a modern twist, all those decisions made in smoke-filled rooms (although in these modern times, the protagonist would rather there weren’t so much smoke).
This is Martin’s story, obviously, and he is an honest character, filled with his own mix of black and white. The most compelling sections, for me, were watching Martin deal with the aftermath of critical situations—the attempt on his life, and the Bali bombing, more specifically. Experiencing the assassination attempt, almost in slow motion, invites the reader into Martin’s psyche, finding surprising and interesting reactions. Martin seems very human, and to watch his circumstances dissolve from around him is difficult and painful. The narrative very effectively brings the reader along as Martin’s confusion, frustration, and finally despair comes on.
The descriptions of the bombing are very straightforward, and effectively so. The detachment in the observers helps the reader to accept the devastation without the characters’ emotions getting in the way.
The peripheral characters certainly add flavor and give some insight into Balinese culture. The setting adds texture, adding dimension beyond the offices in which Martin finds himself trapped. I, for one, breathed a sigh of relief when Martin boarded his last plane out of the country. The courteous question by the anonymous fellow traveler was a beautiful, bittersweet contract to the lonely position Martin just escaped. A highly recommended read.
Reviewed by Bobby- Jack Bowen Butchart
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Thursday 20 January, 2011
A fantastic tale of living life dangerously doing international business in what appears on the surface the idyllic tropical island of Bali Indonesia.
Based on real events, Martin Jones takes us on his journey through the mine field of doing business with self styled Mafia bosses, corrupt police, complacent bureaucrats and maniacal employers. Ending with a catastrophic event that made world news when terrorists bombed and killed innocent holiday makers from around the world.
Years of on the ground experience in Bali have lead to this new author penning an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable story that sheds light on the darker side of paradise.
And yes I am proud to say Graham is my father.
Reviewed by Nikki Szabo
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Wednesday 29 December, 2010
The author has created a character (Martin Wilson - Jones) that is personable and realistic which provides a space for you to be lured into his world from the first page.
Martin’s journey captures the moral and ethical challenges faced in business and life while providing you with a real insight into his humanistic side. An intelligent, savvy and determined business man Martin is faced with betrayal, corruption and death as he attempts to fight a battle that challenges him personally and professionally.
The emotions of loss, disappointment and anger materialise as Martins battle intensifies and are articulated well by the author, providing you with a real connection with the character/s.
The Indonesian culture has been well represented throughout and provides insight into a world not often seen by its visitors. The authors’ description and personal insight into the Bali Bombings of 2002 brings home the ongoing battle between culture and business and allows room for further consideration of life’s value.
The story definitely holds your attention and is well paced right to the end. Captivating, descriptive and easily imaginable this book allows you to truly experience an amazing journey. A compelling read that i could not put down. I would recommend it to anyone!
Reviewed by Neil Porter
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Saturday 18 December, 2010
Acrobats of Reason Review
I’ve been to Bali too – but not the one described in this terrific little book from Graham Butchart. I was there as a tourist – mum, dad and the kid – and we saw a gentle culture, beautiful people and intriguing daily rituals. Fair enough, there was a bit of a problem with people wanting us to go to their stall in the markets or to buy something special at ridiculously low prices, but no part of my earlier visit prepared me for Graham’s story.
People go to Bali to escape their day-to-day stuff, to live a dream, to connect with a slower, more beautiful way of life. They go to see beautiful Balinese people taking part in beautiful Balinese ceremonies – some go to have a wild time in the bars of Kuta, but none expect the danger and frustration Martin Wilson-Jones experiences in this story. Graham writes about the other side of the Bali experience – an expat businessman at the mercy of local gangsters, local corruption and his own business partners. This is no beautiful experience.
The story takes us from a period of successful involvement in the development of tourism infrastructure to the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombing. It describes the emotional reactions of a man whose principles are often challenged and whose relationships become increasingly challenging. The climactic attempt on Martin’s life and the description of his shock at his reaction will strike a knowing chord amongst others (like me) of his generation – that could have been me!
Graham has always been a master of the short, descriptive phrase, full of humour and dripping with meaning – these skills are in abundance here as he tells his own story – “Acrobats Of Reason” is based on Graham’s own experiences in Bali. His knack of providing clear, easily imaginable images makes the reading experience both enjoyable and vivid. His story telling shows signs of a much more experienced writer, and his ability to control tension is exceptional.
Acrobats of Reason is a short book by many standards – it is an easy read because it moves so quickly, and it is full of rich description.
I would highly recommend “Acrobats Of Reason” to anyone after a good read. Couldn't put it down!
Reviewed by Matt Crossley
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Monday 13 December, 2010
Highly recommended read.
From start to Finish, I could Not put this fascinating, detailed and compelling Novel down.
Following one man, on his corporate climb that could make or break him is challenge enough in Bali,but add to this greedy officials, Corrupt infastructure and of course Criminal Adversaries.
Reviewed by Andy Lumley
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Tuesday 07 September, 2010
Nice continuity, couldn't put it down after the first chapter. Characters all seemed very real with diaologue that suited the personalities; something I often find lets a good story down.
Felt sorry for Martin Wilson-Jones. Not sure if he is an intelligent idiot or just unfortunate. Maybe both! The story line is certainly intriguing and the Bali bombing had me absolutely riveted. Gotta feel sorry for the guy.