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Summary

The woman beside her on the train was elegant, ethereal, mysterious, and determined. When Wendy opened her eyes, she was alone. The woman was gone and a dusty red book was in her place. The woman's appeal still rang in her ears. "You must show the world how we danced with God!"

Temple Dancer, a novel of awakening and connection, spans the distance of time, space, and culture through the parallel lives of Saraswati, a young Indian temple dancer in the 1940s and Wendy, an unfulfilled artist living in contemporary New England. On a crowded train in southern India, a strange encounter leads to the exchange of a dusty red book, with a mission. Years later, on reading the lost volume, Wendy is transported on an unforgettable journey into the ancient and erotic world of the revered devadasi, a world of dance and devotion, music and mysticism, restraint and release, shame and disgrace. Like a double helix, their lives intertwine. opening the portal to spiritual transcendence through the making of art, the making of love, and most of all through love itself.

Temple Dancer is a lush listen and a richly atmospheric journey deep into the history and magic of female sacred sexuality and spiritual transcendence. The tragic and triumphant stories of both women are enriched by compelling yoga philosophy and the divine enigma that entwines the lives of two unlikely souls.

©2020 Amy Weintraub (P)2021 Amy Weintraub

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  • Shoppermom
  • 21-05-21

Historical fiction with a whiff of the esoteric

I requested and was fortunate to receive a complimentary copy of Temple Dancer. The narration was very good: The Northeast American upper middle-class accent of the contemporary protagonist contrasted perfectly with that of the young temple dancer in late 1940s India. The story was. . . in all honesty, I'm a bit flummoxed. I think we are supposed to take away the idea that yoga is good, marriage and motherhood are difficult, India's independence brought cultural loss as well as gain, and that the memory of an ancient religious tradition shouldn't be forgotten. This is all delivered in a dual-time strand narration that engages the listener's interest in the fate of young Saraswati, who has as much self-determination as a piece of dust blown around by the wind until she meets and is loved by a local royal who seems to understand her true worth, and less so in a modern, almost 60-year-old American woman who is stumbling along her own spiritual path while reading what may or may not be Saraswati's diary. And in the end, that's really all there is. So while I appreciated the glimpse into a world I knew little about, I was left still hungry after a buffet of crudités.

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  • Cyndie Gawain
  • 19-05-21

Not enough Temple Dancer

I am on Chapter 5 and it is 90% about relationship with her husband. I do not know if I can stand it any longer. Think I will send it back. The small part in the beginning about the temple dancer was interesting. I just can't get through the boring boring boring stuff about ex husband and their fights.

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  • Sharon
  • 05-05-21

Twice is not enough

Rarely has a book so completely transported me to another time and place. I have now both read and listened to the book; and will soon revisit for a third time. History comes alive as you see life through the words of the Temple Dancer. This book will help bring understanding to the limited choices women had in the not too distant past. You will understand why becoming a devadasi was an act of divine devotion and often a wise choice for women. Don't miss the author's notes at the end as it brings home the continuing plight of many poor women today. This book will expand your mind!