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In the Shadow of the Banyan

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In the Shadow of the Banyan Cover

ISBN13: 9781451657708
ISBN10: 1451657706
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"The struggle for survival is relayed with elegance and humility in Ratner's autobiographical debut novel set in Khmer Rouge — era Cambodia. Raami is seven when civil war erupts, and she and her family are forced to leave Phnom Penh for the countryside. As minor royalty, they're in danger; the Khmer Rouge is systematically cleansing the country of wealthy and educated people. Escaping their Phnom Penh home aboard a rusty military vehicle, a gold necklace is traded for rice, and literacy can mean death; 'They say anyone with glasses reads too much... the sign of an intellectual.' Amid hunger, the loss of much of her family, and labor camp toil, Raami clings to the beauty that her father has shown her in traditional mythology and his own poetry. Raami's story closely follows that of Ratner's own: a child when the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, she endured years under their rule until she and her mother escaped to the United States in 1981. This stunning memorial expresses not just the terrors of the Khmer Rouge but also the beauty of what was lost. A hauntingly powerful novel imbued with the richness of old Cambodian lore, the devastation of monumental loss, and the spirit of survival. Agent: Emma Sweeney." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this searing first novel—based on the author’s personal story—has been hailed by Little Bee author Chris Cleave as “a masterpiece…utterly heartbreaking and impossibly beautiful.”

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. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

About the Author

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. After four years, having endured forced labor, starvation, and near execution, she escaped while many of her family members perished.  In 1981, she arrived in the U.S. as a refugee not knowing English and, in 1990, went on to graduate as her high school class valedictorian. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature.  In recent years she traveled and lived in Cambodia and Southeast Asia, writing and researching, which culminated in her debut novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Judith Holmboe, January 3, 2013 (view all comments by Judith Holmboe)
An incredibly beautiful book on an incredibly ugly topic. The author was five and living the life of the wealthy elite in Cambodia when Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. This fictional account is a composite of many families' experiences but the author's heart and soul form the core of the book. The writing is so beautiful it hurts.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Emily G, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Emily G)
This is one of those books so real, the characters so alive and personal, that I want to stop reading because it is so painful, so real. It is one of those books so beautifully written, so exquisitely wrought that I can't possibly stop reading.
The best book I read all year.
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Abigail Elias, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by Abigail Elias)
Although a work of fiction, In the Shadow of the Banyan is based in large part on the author and her family's experience when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. The story is told from the perspective of a small child. The horrors of what she sees and has to endure are not easy to read. Throughout, we hear the narrator's struggle to understand, moving from innocence and naivete to a necessary level of understanding. However, there is always with a measure of love and hope that both helps moderate the pain and horror and helps her survive when others do not.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451657708
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Ratner, Vaddey
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Vaddey Ratner, in the shadow of the banyan, novel, fiction, pen hemingway, award, bestseller, Khmer Rouge, refugee, immigrant, southeast asia, cambodia, book club, contemporary fiction, fema
Subject:
le protagonists, little bee, chris cleave
Subject:
Vaddey Ratner, in the shadow of the banyan, novel, fiction, pen hemingway, award, bestseller, Khmer Rouge, refugee, immigrant, southeast asia, cambodia, book club, contemporary fiction, female protagonists, little bee, chris cleave
Subject:
Cambodia; Vaddey Ratner; In the Shadow of the Banyan; Khmer Rouge; Pol Pot; Cambodian history; refugee; immigrant; Southeast Asia; novel; fiction; literary fiction; book club; PEN Hemingway; award; bestseller; contemporary fiction; female protagonists; Li
Subject:
Cambodia; Vaddey Ratner; In the Shadow of the Banyan; Khmer Rouge; Pol Pot; Cambodian history; refugee; immigrant; Southeast Asia; novel; fiction; literary fiction; book club; PEN Hemingway; award; bestseller; contemporary fiction; female protagonists; Li
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120807
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals

In the Shadow of the Banyan Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451657708 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The struggle for survival is relayed with elegance and humility in Ratner's autobiographical debut novel set in Khmer Rouge — era Cambodia. Raami is seven when civil war erupts, and she and her family are forced to leave Phnom Penh for the countryside. As minor royalty, they're in danger; the Khmer Rouge is systematically cleansing the country of wealthy and educated people. Escaping their Phnom Penh home aboard a rusty military vehicle, a gold necklace is traded for rice, and literacy can mean death; 'They say anyone with glasses reads too much... the sign of an intellectual.' Amid hunger, the loss of much of her family, and labor camp toil, Raami clings to the beauty that her father has shown her in traditional mythology and his own poetry. Raami's story closely follows that of Ratner's own: a child when the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, she endured years under their rule until she and her mother escaped to the United States in 1981. This stunning memorial expresses not just the terrors of the Khmer Rouge but also the beauty of what was lost. A hauntingly powerful novel imbued with the richness of old Cambodian lore, the devastation of monumental loss, and the spirit of survival. Agent: Emma Sweeney." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this searing first novel—based on the author’s personal story—has been hailed by Little Bee author Chris Cleave as “a masterpiece…utterly heartbreaking and impossibly beautiful.”

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. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

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