TEMPLE DANCER, a novel about spiritual awakening and connection, spans the distance of time, space and culture through the parallel lives of Saraswati, a young temple dancer in India, between 1935-1947, and Wendy, a fine artist, turned clinical social worker living in contemporary New England.
In the early years of Indian independence temple dancers, once auspicious women, were profaned after thousands of years of service and banned from the temples. Fifty years later, Wendy abandons her art, turning her life upside down in her struggle to be a “good enough” mother. Both women defy societal mores and obliterate boundaries, mining the borders of consciousness from which art arises. These border states are often spiritual, often trance-like, sometimes dissociative, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes frightening, and always about love.
The novel opens in 1997. Wendy is on a spiritual pilgrimage to India that follows her painful divorce when she meets a mysterious woman on a train and is given what she believes to be a temple dancer’s diary. In 2016, Wendy finally receives the translation she commissioned that has been lost for nearly 20 years. She reads the diary for the first time on retreat at an ashram. Her reading and meditation prompt flashbacks and reflections on her delusions in the trance of love and the mistakes she has made.
Through a lively and spirited life that includes affairs of the spirit and the flesh, Wendy and Saraswati explore the divine connection–the portal that opens through spiritual practice, through the making of art, the making of love, and most of all through love itself.
Click Here to read and excerpt from TEMPLE DANCER (.pdf)
Early praise for TEMPLE DANCER…
An unforgettable novel
Temple Dancer, Amy Weintraub’s astonishing new novel, evokes the power of a lost spiritual tradition through the story of two disparate women: a disgraced temple dancer from 1930s India, and a contemporary social worker in Massachusetts…. Both of the women are fleshed out with rich psychological descriptions that evoke the very different cultures they live in…. Temple Dancer is an unforgettable novel about a woman’s search for peace—and another’s desire for justice.
An unforgettable novel about a woman’s search for peace…
Temple Dancer is an unforgettable novel about a woman’s search for peace–and another’s desire for justice, fleshed out with rich psychological descriptions that evoke the very different cultures they live in.
Be prepared to be haunted and changed…
I read this book in one day because I could not stop. It’s one of those books, so clear the decks before you start. And then be prepared to be haunted and changed by the wisdom, sensuality, beauty, and fascinating history. Read this if you want to be transported and possibly changed forever.
Amy Weintraub is teaching us about ourselves
This book is a fascinating novel, but it is much more than that. Through her wonderful storytelling, Amy Weintraub is teaching us about ourselves. As we identify with both characters, we find parts of ourselves that need redemption and to find their strength. And we learn about Indian history and philosophy to boot!
Beautifully captures the emotions of Saraswati
I thoroughly enjoyed Amy Weintraub’s Temple Dancer. It beautifully captures the emotions of the Temple Dancer “Saraswati” through the eyes of Wendy, a true devadasi herself in search of her soul. The story of Wendy is equally beautiful. While Saraswati was taught and raised to be a Devadasi, Wendy transformed into one through her experiences learning from her mistakes and taking accountability for her feelings and actions.
A fascinating tale
Temple Dancer is a fascinating tale that weaves through time and memory ultimately taking the reader on an unforgettable journey of the heart and spirit. There are rich revelations and twists and turns that make it difficult to put down. It’s a close cousin of Eat, Pray, Love!
A superbly written novel
I could not put this book down. TEMPLE DANCER is a superbly written novel that takes the reader on a journey from naiveté through disgrace to redemption. Amy Weintraub is a master story-teller!
Temple Dancer is riveting.
Temple Dancer is riveting. It is an amazing journey between past and present, artfully weaving the philosophy of India’s ancient mythology into our world of today. The way the author paints pictures with words breathes life into people, places and experiences. It is a poetic and devotional adventure in consciousness that cannot help but awaken the heart and soul of the reader.
Instantly captivating! TEMPLE DANCER is a sumptuous novel that not only entertains but interweaves the intricate teachings of mystical wisdom and spirituality with love, both romantic and transcendental. If you are interested in divine connection or just a really great read, make Temple Dancer your next favorite book!
This Book is Amazing
This book is amazing and once I began reading it, I could not stop. Such a beautiful vignette of two lives with remarkable connections. I particularly like how amazingly real it is. Like any great spiritual story, it leaves one with a good dose of reality but still inspires hope and faith.
A Book of Wisdom
Amy Weintraub’s TEMPLE DANCER is a book of wisdom earned through great suffering, deep contemplation, and real compassion.
A compulsive, authentic read!
In Temple Dancer – A novel, the lives of two women, apparently different, yet strangely alike are intertwined in an engrossing story which brings out the common joys, needs and frailties of people everywhere. Wendy from present-day America meets Saraswati, an Indian woman who is committed in childhood to be a dancer in a temple. This tradition (called devadasis) has degenerated through the years, yet Sarawati manages to convey her sense of pride in her art to Wendy in a way which uplifts and strengthens both women, worlds apart in terms of age, experiences and time, yet both with an inner strength which shines through. A compulsive, authentic read!tic read!
A stunning achievement!
This tale scooped me up and carried me off to two places and times woven together by spirit, people, and humanity. Amy Weintraub brings historical fiction and modern realities to life with relationships that feel universal and timeless. A stunning achievement.