BookBrowse Reviews In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

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In the Shadow of the Banyan

A Novel

by Vaddey Ratner

In the Shadow of the Banyan
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 336 pages
    Jun 2013, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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A debut novel about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian genocide, as seen through the eyes of a 7-year-old

It might be hard to wrap one's mind around the concept of genocide, but it sure is important to do so. After all, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The massive purge that occurred during a very short window of time - between 1975 and 1979, just after the Cambodian Civil War - had all the signs of a genocide: millions were killed because they looked different or didn't conform to predetermined ideas of what the "ideal Cambodian" should be like. Seven-year-old Raami Ayuravann, the narrator of the moving novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan, belongs to the royal class and is living her life in relative luxury in Phnom Penh, when the Khmer Rouge (see "Beyond the Book") captures the city in 1975.

Raami is forced to dislocate to the countryside along with her family, and under extreme conditions, the family fights to survive together. Forcing everyone to conform to an ...

Additional Info
For a visual tour of the book, please visit my Pinterest page. Or to watch a video of author Vaddey Ratner discussing why she chose to write the book, click on the video below:

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