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In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Vaddey Ratner

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5844716,889 (4.12)92
Member:sallyse
Title:In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel
Authors:Vaddey Ratner
Info:Simon & Schuster (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Khmer Rouge regime, Raami, survival

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In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel by Vaddey Ratner

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English (46)  Dutch (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
The story of Red Cambodia from a prince poet daughter's eyes. Lyrical and brutal, sobering and hopeful all at once. Fiction, but clearly based upon a real life experience. Thanks for telling the story. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Beautifully written novel covering strife, love,loss, and resilience. Loosely based on the author's experience during the Cambodian killing fields. Worth the read for the historical perspective and the human perspective. I really enjoyed this even though it stirred up many unpleasant emotions. ( )
  becka11y2 | Jan 19, 2016 |
Absolutely loved this book that brought me to tears. ( )
  Suzanne81 | Jan 12, 2016 |
Wow. Hauntingly beautiful, sad... where do I start? I knew about the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, but this book really made it personal.

At first, I thought it was a little implausible that the protagonist is supposed to be 7 years old yet is so mature and learned. (This coming from someone who also had her nose in a book all the time at 7 years old - but I was reading Nancy Drew, not my country's national literature.) However, as the story moved along, the author managed to make it work. She conveys how devastating the situation was but somehow manages to make it bearable to turn the next page - not an easy task with such horrifying conditions. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know about the personal aspects and not dry statistics.

( )
  Lindoula | Dec 27, 2015 |
This is a beautifully written tragic and heartbreaking story.

The writing is so lyrical and amazing, it actually diminishes the impact of what you are reading while you are reading it. It was only after I put the book down and had time to think about the story itself that I could try to comprehend what the people were enduring. Even then, I knew I could never fully understand what it would be like to try and live under those conditions.

( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
How is it that so much of this bleak novel is full of beauty, even joy? ...In interviews, Ratner has explained that she chose to write a novel rather than a memoir partly because she was too young at the time “to recall the exact details.” As a work of fiction, “In the Shadow of the Banyan” is less a testament to atrocity than a reconciliation with the past. At one point, Raami’s nanny tells her that stories “are like footpaths of the gods. They lead us back and forth across time and space and connect us to the entire universe.” What is remarkable, and honorable, here is the absence of anger, and the capacity — seemingly infinite — for empathy.
 
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For my mother In the memory of my father, Neak Ang Mechas Sisowath Ayuravann
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War entered my childhood world not with the blasts of rockets and bombs but with my father's footsteps as he walked through the hallway, passing my bedroom toward his.
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You are about to read an extraordinary story. 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 Cambodia 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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Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this novel is based on the author's personal story. 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 she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of 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.… (more)

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