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Calcutta Hotel K: The shocking inside story of Bali`s most notorious jail – Book review

Hotel K: The shocking inside story of Bali’s most notorious jail (Quercus, Rs 499) by Kathryn Bonella journeys into the dark heart of a holiday paradise. The prison has become something of a tourist destination itself; for a nominal entrance fee, visitors can stroll through its manicured lawns and meet some of the more famous inmates. But they are not allowed to see guards using electric rods on prisoners or killings that are made to look like suicides or inmates stabbing pens into their veins in order to shoot heroin. Gordon Ramsay’s disgruntled younger brother shares space with terrorists and bombers here; killers get away with light sentences while those found in possession of drugs face firing squads. Bonella travels deep inside this chaotic, twilight world and uncovers the stories that lie within. But it is a brisk, matter-of-fact account; she lets the horror of the stories speak for itself.

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