Synopses & Reviews
Cambodia: A Book For People Who Find Television Too Slow
is a ferociously brilliant book that challenges its readers to see the world with new eyes, in a new light. Through an arresting division of its pages — thirteen wildly imaginative short stories at the top, and a passionate essay on colonialism and Southeast Asia at the bottom, running like a Mekong River footnote throughout the book — Brian Fawcett startles, amuses, and infuriates his hooked readers with juxtaposed images and penetrating insights into the media jungle that defines our age.
Like subtitles read in a foreign film, the pace of Cambodia accelerates, and the reader's eye quickens as the work unfolds. Soon, Cambodia is moving more swiftly than the images on the evening news, showing us that the book's title is not an enigma, but a realistic description of its remarkably interactive contents.
Brian Fawcett's passion stirs us to resist the annihilation of memory and imagination in our society, lest we lose "our right to remember our pasts and envision new futures" in a violent world where "Cambodia is as near as your television set."
"Cunning, provocative, sometimes bombastic—this book is a multigeneric assault on the enervation produced by the modern
media and a trenchant analysis of the genocide in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge. In a book-length essay that runs continuously alongside 13 short stories about life in the Global Village, Fawcett argues that television and the Khmer Rouge have similarly threatened to liquidate cultural memory and individual imagination. At times, the connections are uncanny—flashing between the fiction and the argument. At other junctures, however, the discussion is more daring than persuasive, the 'stories' only thinly disguised diatribes." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)