In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

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Simon and Schuster, Aug 7, 2012 - Fiction - 336 pages
43 Reviews
A beautiful celebration of the power of hope, this New York Times bestselling novel tells the story of a girl who comes of age during the Cambodian genocide.

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hemlokgang - LibraryThing

A somber, spiritual, partially auto-biographical story. The daughter of a king in Cambodia survives 4 years in work camps, loses family, loses hope, is tortured and starved. Somehow she survives, and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brangwinn - LibraryThing

A must-read for anyone trying to understand the Khmer Rouge and the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. I read this while in Cambodia and visiting the Killing Fields and S21 Prison. I learned not to read this ... Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
18
Section 3
24
Section 4
32
Section 5
41
Section 6
51
Section 7
64
Section 8
81
Section 19
191
Section 20
198
Section 21
211
Section 22
220
Section 23
230
Section 24
237
Section 25
245
Section 26
255

Section 9
95
Section 10
102
Section 11
110
Section 12
123
Section 13
136
Section 14
143
Section 15
151
Section 16
162
Section 17
171
Section 18
181
Section 27
270
Section 28
278
Section 29
293
Section 30
302
Section 31
317
Section 32
321
Section 33
323
Section 34
324
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Vaddey Ratner is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Her critically acclaimed bestselling debut novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan, was a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and has been translated into seventeen languages. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. Her most recent novel is Music of the Ghosts.

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