The book, as memoir and story, represents a spiritual journey, from the sensual world of Italy, to a spiritual enclave in India, and then to the “paradise” of Bali, of a modern alienated woman, struggling to find at least some temporary balance in her life in this strange journey, which is somewhat surreal and dreamlike, as she progresses. The world, at a superficial level with its vain strivings, comes across as the strange masked ball she describes in Italy. The masks hold us in the grip of money, status and power relationships, while the strange sense of divinity and of something greater than all this pathetic pettiness seems to lurk beneath the masks. It involves her in a search for the sacred, and ultimately gets her entwined in another dance of love at the end, as she feels she has found the critical balance she needs to rejoin the masquerade and the superficiality of the world with a renewed sense of the sacred about her life, to keep the alienation and the sense of emptiness at bay. In the traditional world of the sacred, the release from superficiality into the emptiness and the void, and the futile wheel of suffering, is replaced, for her, by regaining a sense of meaning to life in union with the other, in the dance of love. This is the life of the new woman, who in the masquerade and the dance, is skirting desperation and emptiness. The tawdry superficiality of Bali, a construct of an artificial sense of paradise, has somehow helped her after a difficult journey from the hopelessness of divorce. She has finally left the old dance of sorrow, and found a new partner. It is a happy ending, with a lot of humor in the journey from Italy, to India, and then to Bali, but somehow, also, a little scary. Liz Gilbert is an exceptionally skilled and talented writer, and her book is well worth reading, of course, if you happen to be one of the “new women” of our liberated world, but also for men as well, to obtain a curiously lighthearted, and at once deep sense of our human world and life. This is clearly one of the best books I have ever read concerning “le condition humaine”, almost better than a painting.