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Touching Earth

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  389 ratings  ·  41 reviews
THE BALINESE TWINS -- Beautiful and exotic, they exchange an island paradise for the shabby squalor of London, and innocence for corruption.

THE SICILIAN -- Ricky Delgado strikes a devil's bargain with a blood goddess: 'Build my temple and bring me the souls of damaged people, and you will see what rewards I give.

THE COURTESAN -- Elizabeth makes her living from men's desire
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Sceptre (first published September 13th 2004)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  389 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Joanna Brauckmann
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved 'Rice Mother' and was really looking forward to reading 'Touching Earth,' especially after spending 2 weeks in Bali last year. The images of Bali are authentic and intoxicating. They transport the reader elsewhere. I remember watching the Balinese make offering to their spirits all through the day, well into the night, mysteriously following an invisible path and rituals unbeknownst to me...Nenek does the same. Reportedly a witch, she's tied to the earth, feeding herbal combinations to t ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I'm not sure how I actually feel about this book. The whole drugs scene has passed me by and I find that I don't really empathise with the need for a high.. having said that, I was completely intrigued by each character portrayal and how they deal with what comes in their lives. I like the beginning where the scene is set with the twins in Bali and find that when they make their way to England, I am not surprised about their eventual situation.

It wasn't just the twins though, each character had
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hands down one of my new favourite novels of all time.

Pros: Characters that are as engaging as they are flawed, hypnotic prose, fantastic evocation of the light and dark sides of her locations, gripping to the end and never once flags in pace

Cons: The scenes in which the author cameos within her novel. They feel like a cheesy attempt at selling the novel's events as real, but have the opposite effect by reminding us that we're reading a book rather than viewing people's lives.
Debolina Raja
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'd heard a lot of good reviews about the book 'Rice Mother' by Rani Manicka, but never actually got around to reading it. So when I accidentally came across her second book 'Touching Earth' at a re-sale old books shop, I was pleasantly happy and picked it up almost instantly. Can you imagine how much I got if for? Just for INR 25, which less than 1USD !!!!

Here are the book details:
Title: Touching Earth
Author: Rani Manicka
Publishers: Sceptre
No. of Pages: 432

Before I go for the review, a brief lo
Lilly  Minasyan
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“The rats ate an island, but we’ll eat a whole planet. Think about it. We really are like rats. We give nothing to any other creature on this earth. We don’t make honey, our milk is only for our own, our flesh, which is supposed to be sweet, we consider too precious to be eaten by another. We don’t know how to make nests out of our saliva. Even after we are dead we won’t allow out skin to be used for leather. We just know how to shit and fuck.”

This book was nothing that I expected it to be. The
Deborah Dicks
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Spoilers below:

I really enjoyed this right up to the point where the author inserted herself into the book. Up until this point, I loved her gritty writing which never shied away from the ugly as she gave an insight into the world of drugs and addiction; however, to me, inserting herself into the book seemed like an intellectual conceit and detracted from the beauty of the book which had, ironically perhaps, been in the ugly reality it showed.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book.
Accurate account of a journey into drugs and the sordid underworld it reveals.
I think teenagers should read this book as a warning of how easily a glamourous world can just be the outer layer of a grotesque world within. I think the analogy of the spider weaving it's sticky web is a good visual.
The only criticsm I have is that although throughout most of the book her prose is wonderful at times towards the end the writing and plot becomes clumsy and a bit too romantic.
Sparky Jo
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brilliant
* Utterly engaging characters. There are many and you end up loving, or hating, most of them!
* Believable story, and yet with magic woven in and a certain surrealism that just keeps you reading.
* Beautifully written - that imagery - oh my!
* Honest and jarring view on drug usage and prostitution. No punches are held and you get to see just how brutal and self destroying such habits can be. Not for the faint of heart.

* The nicer they are = the better their chances of ending up dead.
* Some
Vanda Bromwich
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This is not quite what I was expecting. The Touching Earth looks at the sordid underbelly of the world of drugs and prostitution. There is nothing glossed over or glamourised.
It follows two beautiful, innocent Balinese twins and their journey to London and the effect drugs has on their lives. All the characters they meet are well written even though they may not be particularly likeable.
This is not an easy read .
Doula Umm
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Brilliant multi faceted narrative of the mayhem drugs will wreak in people's lives and how those drugs take hold and keep you and kill you while doing the same to those around you. I loved the way the writer brought in the stories of the characters from such diverse backrounds. The writer brilliantly wove her story around the reader so that each piece came together and gripped you into reading more.This enchantment however was shattered by the writers jarring entrance into the story (why oh why ...more
Susan Roy
Jul 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
I expected more from this author after having read her first book. The author says in her introduction that this book is nothing like her first book, however it was not just different it was just not well put together. She tried to tell the story from the perspective of different characters which other authors have done and been successful at telling a story and developing the characters. In this book the story continually shifts from one character to another so frequently that the reader never ...more
I cannot describe, nor do I want to describe this book. It took me by surprise and I was hooked. Discover it yourself. All I will say about it is, this world that we live is filled with so much cynisism, darkness, unthoughtfullness, games and indeed self discovery. One really has to know what it is they want out of this life, what their purpose is, before they are engulfed into dark corners that sometimes hold you in.
Shivanee Ramlochan
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of my most-loaned books to date-- I think there's something in this story that grips one viscerally. It's been several years since I revisited it, and I remember certain passages with a vivid detailing that takes me rather by surprise, since I wouldn't necessarily list this as one of my overwhelming favourites. You know, I'm tempted to reread it, so I can review it at Novel Niche. It'd be bound to be one of the more colourful pieces featured there.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took me a little bit to really get in touch with this book. The Rice Mother hit me on such a deep and personal level so when Touching Earth didn't, I had a hard time reading it. After a while though I connected with the characters and I have to say this book is very magical. You truly fall in love with the characters. Grieve for them, laugh with them. It is amazing. Ms. Manicka is amazing.
Another 3.5 stars....(ok I admit this is getting silly). Quite different from "The Rice Mother".It starts and ends in Bali, but in between moves to London and the story is told by a number of unrelated but interconnected and seriously flawed characters who document the "innocence corrupted" mentioned on the cover. The author even puts herself into the plot.
Joe Stamber
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2000s
Balinese twins leave behind their tribal village life for the seedy depths of London in this well written drama. They encounter drugs, prostitution and despair as they meet a diverse collection of interesting characters created by RM. I thoroughly enjoyed this readable tale, and would rate it between 3 and 4 stars.
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Touching Earth was interesting. I didn't like the numerous characters in the book and the constant switch of the first person. Overall, it was interesting to see the different culturals of people from Balinese, Italian, Polish etc come together to socialize through the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Its hard to like this book. It first this book really "did" get my attention but after that it was just words. I personally liked the first half of the book instead of the players POV. It had way too much about drug addict addiction and it made the book difficult to read.

It was a one of a kind fiction.....
Tracie Cowell
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, romance
Knocked a point off due to the author's literal self-insert. It left a hugely bitter taste in my mouth.

Otherwise? Lyrical writing, gritty portrayal of people, along with harsh life lessons about drug abuse and sheer survival. It's hard to feel any empathy for some characters, but others you cannot help but end up rooting for. An interesting read to say the least.
Interesting book, love the way she writes but about the characters...sometimes i just forget what happened to either one of the characters, thus, have to flip back to previous pages. Hmm...quite confusing in that department at times. But either than that, it was quite good but storyline wise... one can say that lot's of things happen revolving the characters but at the same time, nothing much.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was expecting the book to be along similar lines with Rice Mother but I was wrong. Still, a very engaging book and an eye opener about the life and experiences of druggies. Rani weaves her magic yet again.
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
At first I wasn't very impressed with this book, the writing seemed a bit clumsy somehow. However, as it went on I got more and more into it. Quite different to her other book The Rice Mother but still enjoyable.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I loved the rice mother and looked forward to this book very much. The beginning where each character was introduced was as enticing as ever, then gets a bit dark but I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. Being a fan of how Rani writes I found this easy to read.
Norsaiful Abdul habib
Though I lost between the lines for its lyrical writing, I do understand the story after finished it. Rani did her magic in telling the story of filthiness of devil in a very beautiful way. how every human, with their sins will be back yobthe ground of earth, seeking basic surface of life.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: others
Not something I would read for a second's not that bad, it's just a little hard to understand.

The end is quite happy ending, which is a relief.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
very interesting. excellent writing
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly written, tragic story
Nishalini Rajasekar
Aug 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I did not find this novel very entertaining. It did not really have a nice story line and I personally found a few chapters disturbing. A book I would not suggest for young readers.
Rana Daw
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Well I'm quite happy to be finally done with the story.. Too many unnecassry details in the story.. the ending is quite fulfilling though
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Rani Manicka, an economics graduate, was born and educated in Malaysia and divides her time between Malaysia and England. Her first novel 'The Rice Mother'Infused with her own Sri Lankan family history is a vivid imaginative story about the frailties of human nature and the consequences of war. It won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003.

She has published a further two novels,'Touching Earth'in 2
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