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Cambodian Fiction

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12ratner  ///"In the Shadow of the Banyan" by Vaddey Ratner ///


the-map-of-lost-memoriesThe Map of Lost Memories
by Kim Fay
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton, 2012

In 1925 the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no one understands this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for a coveted museum curatorship because she is a woman. Seeking to restore her reputation, she sets off from Seattle in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. But she soon discovers that her quest to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century is also a quest for the secrets of her family’s own past. And as she travels through Shanghai’s lawless back streets and Saigon’s opium-filled lanes to reach the Cambodian jungle, she does not know who to trust. A drug-addled temple robber, Simone Merlin seems to take pleasure in complicating the expedition, while jaded nightclub owner Marc Rafferty reveals a troublesome childhood mysteriously entwined with Irene’s. Even her own mentor, a notorious collector of stolen art, becomes suspect when Irene uncovers his connection to her companions.

Set against a backdrop of colonialism, revolutionary politics and the ruthless art world of the early 1900s, The Map of Lost Memories takes readers on a seductive journey into a forgotten era where nothing is as it seems. As Irene and her fellow adventurers travel into the humidity-soaked jungle, little do they know that what they eventually bring to light will do more than change history … It will ultimately solve the mysteries of their own lives.

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1101651The King’s Last Song
by Geoff Ryman
Published by: Small Beer Press, 2008

Archeologist Luc Andrade discovers an ancient Cambodian manuscript inscribed on gold leaves but is kidnapped—and the manuscript stolen—by a faction still loyal to the ideals of the brutal Pol Pot regime. Andrade’s friends, an ex-Khmer Rouge agent and a young motoboy, embark on a trek across Cambodia to rescue him. Meanwhile, Andrade, bargaining for his life, translates the lost manuscript for his captors. The result is a glimpse into the tremendous and heart-wrenching story of King Jayavarman VII: his childhood, rise to power, marriage, interest in Buddhism, and the initiation of Cambodia’s golden age. As Andrade and Jayavarman’s stories interweave, the question becomes whether the tale of ancient wisdom can bring hope to a nation still suffering from the violent legacy of the last century.

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Holiday-in-Cambodia3Holiday in Cambodia
by Laura Jean McKay
Published by: Black Inc, 2013

Three backpackers board a train, ignoring the danger signs – and find themselves in the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

Elderly sisters are visited by their vampire niece from Australia and set out to cure her.

A singer creates a sensation in swinging 1969, on the eve of an American bombing campaign.

In Holiday in Cambodia Laura Jean McKay explores the electric zone where local and foreign lives meet. There are tender, funny moments of tentative understanding, as well as devastating re-imaginings of a troubled history.

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Temple of a Thousand FacesA Temple of a Thousand Faces
by John Shors
Published by: NAL Trade, 2013

When his land is taken by force, Prince Jayavar of the Khmer people narrowly escapes death at the hands of the conquering Cham king. Exiled from their homeland, he and his mystical wife Ajadevi set up a secret camp in the jungle with the intention of amassing an army bold enough to reclaim their kingdom and free their people. Meanwhile, Cham King Indravarman rules with an iron fist, pitting even his most trusted men against each other and squashing any hint of rebellion.

Moving from a poor fisherman’s family whose sons find the courage to take up arms against their oppressors, to a beautiful bride who becomes a prize of war, to an ambitious warrior whose allegiance is torn–Temple of a Thousand Faces is an unforgettable saga of love, betrayal, and survival at any cost.

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12ratner  ///"In the Shadow of the Banyan" by Vaddey Ratner ///In the Shadiw of the Banyan
by Vaddey Ratner
Published by: Simon & Schuster, 2013

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, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father—and 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 hope and transcendence.

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