When Broken Glass Floats by Chanrithy Him
Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge

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Chanrithy Him felt compelled to tell of surviving life under the Khmer Rouge in a way "worthy of the suffering which I endured as a child."

In the Cambodian proverb, "when broken glass floats" is the time when evil triumphs over good. That time began in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia and the Him family began their trek through the hell of the "killing fields." In a mesmerizing story, Him vividly recounts a Cambodia where rudimentary labor camps are the norm and technology, such as cars and electricity, no longer exists. Death becomes a companion at the camps, along with illness. Yet through the terror, Chanrithy's family remains loyal to one another despite the Khmer Rouge's demand of loyalty only to itself. Moments of inexpressible sacrifice and love lead them to bring what little food they have to the others, even at the risk of their own lives. In 1979, "broken glass" finally sinks. From a family of twelve, only five of the Him children survive. Sponsored by an uncle in Oregon, they begin their new lives in a land that promises welcome to those starved for freedom.

About Chanrithy Him

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Chanrithy Him, born in 1965, lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she works for the Khmer Adolescent Project, studying post-traumatic stress disorder among Cambodians.
Published April 17, 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company. 340 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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In 1975 the Khmer Rouge gained power in Cambodia, leaving a wake of destruction and terror in their path.

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Publishers Weekly

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Born in Cambodia in 1965, Him lived from the age of three with the fear of war overflowing from neighboring Vietnam and suffered through the U.S.'s bombing of her native land. However, thanks to her l

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Publishers Weekly

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(Apr.) FYI: In the January 17 issue, PW reviewed another memoir of growing up under the Khmer Rouge, First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung.

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