In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

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In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

by Vaddey Ratner

Simon & Schuster | August 7, 2012 | Hardcover

In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 5.
You are about to read an extraordinary story. It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss.

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 the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her 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 a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 in

Published: August 7, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451657706

ISBN - 13: 9781451657708

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Horrific and Awesome Seven-year old Raami is a privileged daughter of a Cambodia prince. When the Khmer Rouge comes to power in 1975 her family is uprooted from the capital Phnom Penh and go to live in their summer home with relatives. Soon they are again moved out and what follows is a constant moving around. Raami's story is heart-breaking as her relatives fall victim to the regime. Over the next four years she endures starvation, brutality and forced labour. She meets both the good and bad side of the human race. Raami clings to her father by remembering his legends and fables. This is both a horrific book and an awesome book. Horrific in the fact that the story mirrors the author's true experiences and awesome in the beautiful writing. The reader can not help but fight along side of Raami and cheer her on at every awful turn in her young life. This is a beautifully wrought tale of human resilience.
Date published: 2013-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ THIS BOOK As the previous reviewer wrote there are no words for me to describe this beautifully written book. All I can say that with this heartbreaking novel it will give you insight into a dark piece of our history of what happened in Cambodia during 1975-1979. I hope that many many people will read the story of Vaddey Ratner for this book will stay with you for a very long time.
Date published: 2012-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ THIS BOOK This astonishing read will leave you not only with a broken heart for the Cambodian people but will give you a gained knowledge of the atrocities that happened between 1975 -1979. I hope that many many people will pick this book up and read it thus ensuring that no one forgets this period of dark history. Beautifully written with evocative prose this book will remain in your heart for a very long time.
Date published: 2012-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenonmeanl Read, it will blow your mind!! Story Description: Simon & Schuster|August 7, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4516-5770-8 You are about to read an extraordinary story. It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss. 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. Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her 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 a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience. My Review: The utter horror Raami lived through is truly heartbreaking, especially for a young girl of seven. Raami is a strong girl who possesses more strength and courage than I’ve seen in kids twice her age and more Raami was only five-years-old when the Khmer Rouge overtook her home in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. She was immediately thrust into a world of cruelty, poverty, hunger, and starvation. Her beloved father, a royal, was imprisoned and she never saw him again. His book of poetry he had written is what she remembers and it helps keep her moving forward. Raami, her mother, and baby sister were able to stay together while her uncle and cousins were sent to die in labour camps and Raami’s baby sister is stricken with malaria. This was truly a heart-wrenching story where it has been estimated that the Cambodian genocide was responsible for the deaths of some 1.7 million people, a huge proportionate of the entire population of the entire country. The story is written in the first person and told through the eyes of Raami. The words are so beautifully written, a real talent for a first time author. An extraordinary story that takes you to the impossible highs and lows of what human beings can do in this life, both on the good side and the bad. This is a story that will reach deep inside your soul and leave you shivering. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and believe it needs to be read for the sake of the people who died and those still living that suffered through this terrible tragedy.
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from incredible and heart breakingingly beautiful The Good Stuff Heartbreaking - this story will haunt you long after you have read it The prose is so exquisite and beautifully written, such talent for first time author It is hard for me to express how spectacular this book is, everything I want to say sounds trite when compared to the beauty of the authors words and the horror she lived through Raami is such a strong girl, one to be admired for her strength of character and her ability to transcend the horrific tragedy she lived through and to still find beauty in her world. As the author says in her own words she wants the world to see how beautiful Cambodia was before the genocide & which while reading you come to understand what was lost during the "killing fields" Shows the will that we have to live no matter the circumstance The writing really comes across of that of a young girl, so authentic and haunting Such joy love and hope in such a tragic situation gives a balance to the acts of brutal violence by the Khymer Rouge - shows that the world is full of both good and evil Author mentions on quite a few occasions the power of stories to escape and to give hope (Wonderfully explained on Pg 134 of the ARC) The Not So Good Stuff It is a tough read for someone as sensitive as myself. Reading of the brutality and inhumanity of man sickens me and I cannot even comprehend how or why someone could commit such horrific crimes against their fellow man, especially to innocent children Pages 125 - 127 (ARC) were brutal for me to read, being a mother Favorite Quotes/Passages "But, looking at the murals, I had the feeling the tales had followed us here, moving along with us on our journey, manifesting themselves in all sorts of ways. Knowing comes from learning, finding from seeking. It was clear what the message meant. If I looked hard enough, if I sought, I would find what I was looking for." "I'm certain, though, he remained resolute in his belief that even without him you would live through this nightmare, that life, with all its cruelty and horror, was still worth living. A gift he would've wanted his daughter to embrace." "Bury me and I'll thrive as countless insects I bend neither to your weapon nor will Even as you trample upon my bones I cower not under your soulless tread Or fear your shadow casting upon my grave." "I told you stories to give you wings, Raami, so that you would never be trapped by anything - your name, your title, the limits of your body, this world's suffering." Who Should/Shouldn't Read This is one I would suggest for everyone to read with a warning for those who are sensitve This will be an award winner, so get it now people 4.75 Dewey's I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review - thanks for once again forcing me out of my comfortable reading zone
Date published: 2012-07-31

– More About This Product –

In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

by Vaddey Ratner

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 in

Published: August 7, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451657706

ISBN - 13: 9781451657708

About the Book

Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this searing first novel--based on the author's personal story--is one of survival, endurance, and forced exodus.

Read from the Book

one War entered my childhood world not with the blasts of rockets and bombs but with my father’s footsteps as he walked through the hallway, passing my bedroom toward his. I heard the door open and shut with a soft click. I slid off my bed, careful not to wake Radana in her crib, and snuck out of my room. I pressed my ear to the door and listened. “Are you all right?” Mama sounded concerned. Each day before dawn, Papa would go out for a solitary stroll, and returning an hour or so later, he would bring back with him the sights and sounds of the city, from which would emerge the poems he read aloud to me. This morning, though, it seemed he came back as soon as he’d stepped out, for dawn had just arrived and the feel of night had yet to dissipate. Silence trailed his every step like the remnant of a dream long after waking. I imagined him lying next to Mama now, his eyes closed as he listened to her voice, the comfort it gave him amidst the clamor of his own thoughts. “What happened?” “Nothing, darling,” Papa said. “What is it?” she persisted. A deep, long sigh, then finally he said, “The streets are filled with people, Aana. Homeless, hungry, desperate . . .” He paused, the bed creaked, and I imagined him turning to face her, their cheeks on the same long pillow, as I’d often seen. “The miseries—” “No matter what awfulness is out there,” Mama cut in gently, “I know you will take care of us.” A breathless silence. I imagined her lips pressed against his. I blushed. “There!” s
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From the Publisher

You are about to read an extraordinary story. It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss.

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 the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her 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 a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

About the Author

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. In 1981 she arrived in the United States as a refugee not knowing English and ultimately went on to graduate summa cum laude from Cornell University. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

Editorial Reviews

“A compelling new voice in world literature. Through the coming of age story of a sensitive girl, Ratner dramatizes both the brutalities of the Khmer Rouge and the emotional cost of survival.”