Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Sunday Salon: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers bu Loung Ung

I haven't posted a book review on here in ages - I seem to be distracted lately when reading or I'm too busy to actually get to a book. This is the first nook I have finished in a while, but I have a poetry collection and another non-ficion half read so they should be coming up for review shortly.

I picked this book about Cambodia off of the shelves as I'm planning on travelling there next summer (5 weeks to explore Cambodia, Laos and south Vietnam - I've done the north already and loved it) and also my ex is there at the moment and he has been raving about it in his emails.
First The Killed My Father is a memoir, Loung Ung was just 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge stormed Phnom Penh causing thousands to escape from the city in search of safety. Coming from a rich family bacame both a danger but also a blessing as this family went on the run. Escaping first to families homes and then to distant villages they had to be careful at every moment to hide the father's past work with the old government. The Khmer Rouge a Communist Extremist group forced families to live in camps on meager rations, for children to work in rice fields and vegetable patches to help feed the armies. Her brother is forced to face bullying by the generals children as a means of keeping the family alive with a few extra scraps of food each night. As Loung gets older she witness the death of her sister and the disappearance of her father. She then is sent to a Children's Camp where the kids are taught how to attack the 'enemy' with the tools they use in their jobs.
The stories of what the families went through and the seperation of the families is harrowing, the political side of things is very sketchy so I'll be searching out a few non-fiction texts to find out more about the place before I go - the ex has already recommended one, which I'll borrow when he arrives back in the UK.

World Citizen Challenge
A-Z (Author)
In Their Shoes


Vivienne said...

Sounds like quite a powerful book to read. I envy you your travelling.

mel u said...

I spent a few days in Siem Reap at the Angkor Wat compound-be sure and budget a lot of time to see this-I was really totally amazed by the long mural carvings-I have an enlarged picture of one of the battle scenes depicted in the murals on the walls of our home-I have read the book you recommended and also endorse it. As we drove around the area we noticed there were no old people (50 plus)-I asked about this and our guide said "all killed".

katrina said...

I looking forward to it but know it will be a harrowing place to visit, my ex reckons he spent days after feeling low and for him to admit that it must be pretty powerful