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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay
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Holiday in Cambodia (edition 2013)

by Laura Jean McKay (Author)

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1221,429,570 (3.67)None
Beyond the killing fields and the temples of Angkor Wat is Cambodia: a country with a genocidal past and a wide, open smile. A frontier land where anything is possible - at least for Western expatriates.In these loosely linked stories, Laura Jean McKay takes us deep into this complex country, exploring the uneasy spaces where local and foreign lives meet.Three backpackers board a train, ignoring the danger signs - and find themselves used as bargaining chips in a terrible game.A jaded expat, tired of real girls, falls in love with an ancient statue.As they explore the sweltering streets of Phnom Penh, two Australian tourists come face to face with the cracks in their marriage.There are devastating re-imaginings of the country's troubled history, as well as tender, funny moments of tentative understanding. These are bold and haunting stories, deftly told.… (more)
Member:Thebeautifulsea
Title:Holiday in Cambodia
Authors:Laura Jean McKay (Author)
Info:Black Inc. (2013), 216 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay

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"Where kings went, where singers went, where the Khmer Rouges went, and stayed, still camped up in the Elephant Mountains."

Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay

Holiday in Cambodia is a series of short stories, some from past times, others current about Cambodia. The best way to describe them would be Vignettes or little slices of life.

This is one of those times I really wish there was a scale of 1-10 on GR. I liked but did not love this and I am worried that giving a rating of 3, will look like I do not like it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But you have to be in the right mood to read these and you also have to know that the stories, do not, in themselves, end with clarity. They just sort of trickle off.

If I were to rate this on a one to ten scale I would give it a 7.5. I of coarse en joyed some stories more then others. There are over a dozen and all are quite short.

The first one..concerning a group of people in transit who accidentally fall to captivity at the hands of the Khmer Rouge is heartbreaking. Most of the stories ar pretty dark. That is why I said you have to be in the right mood.

I enjoy reading about other cultures and time periods and also enjoy short stories so this seemed a good pic. If you share an interest in those types of books, this is one you will want to check out. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 7, 2022 |
A collection of short stories thematically linked by their setting (Cambodia). The writing is incisive and precise, and some stories are hugely affecting (the first in particular will stay with you). It's strongest when dealing with the interaction between the West and Cambodia, but it's all very compelling. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
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McKay is equally impressive shifting her focus from the tourists to the locals, and it’s in this way that we see Cambodian culture from the inside. Set at various times over the past sixty years, before and after the Vietnam War and the reign of the Khmer Rouge, these stories become political. We see the many ways this country is still being pushed down: the unfair wages in the Western factories, the children who play near fields riddled with land mines, the somewhat ineffectual presence of aid groups. (Anyone who was morally outraged recently by the way Bangladeshi factory workers are treated will find a lot to ark up about here.) McKay tells these stories with conviction and subtlety, asking questions but never offering answers. Her relationship to Cambodia seems personal and familiar. As a writer she tries to sit back, stay objective — and mostly she does — but writers have feelings, too. This country, and its many problems, has clearly taken hold of her.
added by LauraJeanMcKay | editCrikey, Paul Donoughue (Aug 26, 2013)
 
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Beyond the killing fields and the temples of Angkor Wat is Cambodia: a country with a genocidal past and a wide, open smile. A frontier land where anything is possible - at least for Western expatriates.In these loosely linked stories, Laura Jean McKay takes us deep into this complex country, exploring the uneasy spaces where local and foreign lives meet.Three backpackers board a train, ignoring the danger signs - and find themselves used as bargaining chips in a terrible game.A jaded expat, tired of real girls, falls in love with an ancient statue.As they explore the sweltering streets of Phnom Penh, two Australian tourists come face to face with the cracks in their marriage.There are devastating re-imaginings of the country's troubled history, as well as tender, funny moments of tentative understanding. These are bold and haunting stories, deftly told.

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