I’ve been looking forward to reading this novel for a while, even if other books kept getting in the way. I would like to visit Cambodia one day, mostly to visit Angkor Wat, and a friend of mine lives there. As a result I was very interested to read about this darker period of Cambodian history which I had only a vague inkling of.
Ratner is a descendant of one of the Cambodian kings so this novel is very much drawn on her actual experiences when the Revolutionary soldiers took over Cambodia. However since she was five when they took over in 1975, she chose to fictionalize her experience which would allow her to streamline her story and simplify the large family she had. Overall, I think the real life story is fascinating, and there are certainly parts of the novel that were riveting, but in the end, I think I was hoping for more from this. Full review.