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 Vaddey RatnerSee more books from this Author
What is remarkable, and honorable, here is the absence of anger, and the capacity — seemingly infinite — for empathy.Read Full Review of In the Shadow of the Banyan: ... | See more reviews from NY Times
Ratner is a fearless writer, and the novel explores important themes such as power, the relationship between love and guilt, and class.Read Full Review of In the Shadow of the Banyan: ... | See more reviews from Guardian
The novel's fidelity to real life gradually turns out to be a source of weakness..."In the Shadow of the Banyan" feels insufficiently imagined, almost like a diary.Read Full Review of In the Shadow of the Banyan: ... | See more reviews from WSJ online
The playful innocence that marked the novel's start gives way to furtive, monochrome descriptions...The blasted landscape Ratner describes feels almost like science fiction, like an alien slave colony on some faraway moon. If only that were true.Read Full Review of In the Shadow of the Banyan: ... | See more reviews from NPR
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