In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Aug 7, 2012 - Fiction - 336 pages
23 Reviews
You are about to read an extraordinary story, a PEN Hemingway Award finalist “rich with history, mythology, folklore, language and emotion.” It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the Cambodian killing fields between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss.

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

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Review: In the Shadow of the Banyan

User Review  - Chrissie - Goodreads

I finished this last night. Yes, it was well done. Probably the reason I liked it was that it is based on the author's experiences, from which she has crafted her novel. I thought the end was better ... Read full review

Review: In the Shadow of the Banyan

User Review  - Tania - Goodreads

I didn't know so much sadness could exist in so small a place This must be one of the most exquisitely written books I've read in a long time. It's based on the authors own experience during the ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Having endured four years under the brutal regime, she arrived in the United States in 1981 as a refugee not knowing English and eventually went on to graduate summa cum laude from Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

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