Nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize ("The Booker of Asia")
"A sublime tale told by a master storyteller, steeped in the lore of old. Ferrer's conjuring of romantic Indochine is a journey that lures, stirring up ghosts in a wild phantasmagoria, reckoning with forces both entwined and eternal." - Angela Kan, Travel Host & Writer, The Discovery Channel
Jacquie Mouhot and Paaku the Lotus-Born are divided by six centuries but linked by a common curse. In medieval Cambodia, Paaku is an orphan whose community believes he may be a reluctant incarnation of a god, causing sectarian turmoil for the kingdom's leaders. Meanwhile, in 1921, Jacquie follows the footsteps of her grandfather, a famous explorer, to Indochina, where she becomes immersed in the tragedy of Paaku's history: a story simultaneously unfolding in the intertwined present and past, a story in which she still has a vital role to play.
"Farther India", 1861 (Laos, Indochina).
It was hard to believe the human body could contain so much water, and yet, there it all was. Phrai twisted the cloth and watched it plop in dull patters on the ground, the pocked earth sponging up sound as well. Sweat had been seeping out his employer for weeks, and he had been at the dying man's side all the while, pouring fresh water back into his mouth with the devotion of a nun. Phrai imagined nearly half the man had been absorbed and squeezed from these rags, creating small pools just outside the hut. In another part of the world, that half of him would evaporate out of existence, but here it could not; the thick air held eternity at bay.
Phrai returned and closed the flimsy door after himself. The explorer looked like a rag doll tossed upon a bed. He regained consciousness and requested a mirror; even in dying, he didn't want to be denied the role of observer. Perhaps he wanted to put that in his book as well. ...
Overall, The Last Gods of Indochine, which was nominated for The Man Asian Literary Prize, is a compelling and fascinating read. It succeeds in bringing the ancient Kingdom alive and allows us to imagine something of the society, superstitions and power structures inherent within it, which may also have contributed to bringing about its mysterious collapse. It left me wanting to, not just know more about the history of the Kingdom, but visit its stunning monuments - as long as there isn't really a curse!
(Reviewed by Claire McAlpine).
The Khmer Empire was a powerful state in South-East Asia that existed between 802-1431 AD. At the height of its power, it covered modern-day Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and southern Vietnam. Made up of 90 provinces, its capital Angkor was, at one point, a thriving city of over one million people. The empire was founded upon extensive networks of agricultural rice farming communities managed by the Kingdom.
Much of the history of Khmer society is known through bas-relief carvings of the Angkor temples (that are studied by the character and real life art historian Victor Goloubew in Samuel Ferrer's The Last Gods of Indochine) and the writings of the visiting 13th century Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan. The bas-reliefs describe everyday ...
This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.
If you liked The Last Gods of Indochine, try these:
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.
In 17th-century Persia, a young woman and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman is faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.
Discover your next great read here
When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.