Stealing with the Eyes

Will Buckingham

‘Moving in the realms of personal travelogue and the novel, Stealing With the Eyes is a curious and always entertaining book, driven by lively dialogue with occasional dips into beautiful observations that verge on epiphany.’ 
Helsinki Book Review 

‘Apart from setting the tone through observation, the best about Buckingham’s prose is its apparent honesty…this memoir squints at self and society from afar.’ 
Jakarta Post

‘As a memoir, Stealing with the Eyes is powerful. Buckingham has a wonderful eye for detail, and the tale he has woven is gripping.’ 
Times Literary Supplement

‘A beautifully written evocation of a journey into the village communities of eastern Indonesia, and a remarkable meditation on the uneasy business of travelling to foreign lands in search of stories.‘
Tim Hannigan, author of A Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices, and Tsunamis


As a trainee anthropologist Will Buckingham travelled to the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia. There he met three remarkable sculptors: the disabled Matias Fatruan; the buffalo hunter Abraham Amelwatin; and Damianus Masele, who was skilled in black magic, but who abstained out of Christian princicple.

Stealing with the Eyes is the story of these men, and also of how stumbling into a world of witchcraft, sickness and fever led Buckingham to question the validity of his anthropological studies, and eventually to abandon them for good.

Weaving together Tanimbarese history, myth and philosophy; Stealing with the Eyes explores the forces at play in all our lives – the struggle between the powerful and the powerless; the tension between the past and the future; and how to make sense of a world that is in constant flux.

Read Will Buckingham’s interviews for Southeast Asia Globe and OutsideLeft Magazine.

An excerpt from Stealing with the Eyes is available on Asian Review of Books.

WILL BUCKINGHAM is a writer of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. He is currently a reader in Writing and Creativity at the Faculty of Humanities at De Montfort University in the UK. He is the author of Sixty- Four Chance Pieces and Lucy and the Rocket Dog. Visit Will’s website here.

Follow Will on Twitter @willbuckingham

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