Customer Reviews for

In the Shadow of the Banyan

Average Rating 5
( 15 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Informative and very well written, you will learn a lot about Cambodia

This novel was recommended to me and I thought I would continue the favor. This is a fast, easy read, told by the perspective of a little girl who lived through the Cambodian Civil War and the Khmer Rouge. I didn't know much about this time in Cambodia and the narrative...
This novel was recommended to me and I thought I would continue the favor. This is a fast, easy read, told by the perspective of a little girl who lived through the Cambodian Civil War and the Khmer Rouge. I didn't know much about this time in Cambodia and the narrative is written so well you feel like you are there. Throughout the novel there are many references to Cambodia stories/poems that paint a beautiful picture of Cambodian culture. I would recommend this and I am glad to have read it.

posted by 10000128 on August 19, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

not deep enough for me

I realize the author spent alot of time and effort, however, as an historical account of Cambodia's Kymer Rouge period, it leaves the horror out in this emotional second hand story from an eight year old's perspective. Recommended for young people, as the bloody parts a...
I realize the author spent alot of time and effort, however, as an historical account of Cambodia's Kymer Rouge period, it leaves the horror out in this emotional second hand story from an eight year old's perspective. Recommended for young people, as the bloody parts are absent and only hinted.

posted by 13309656 on September 9, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Informative and very well written, you will learn a lot about Cambodia

    This novel was recommended to me and I thought I would continue the favor. This is a fast, easy read, told by the perspective of a little girl who lived through the Cambodian Civil War and the Khmer Rouge. I didn't know much about this time in Cambodia and the narrative is written so well you feel like you are there. Throughout the novel there are many references to Cambodia stories/poems that paint a beautiful picture of Cambodian culture. I would recommend this and I am glad to have read it.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    This is a wonderful book. Beautifully written. I slowed down m

    This is a wonderful book. Beautifully written. I slowed down my
    reading to take in every word. I highly recommend this book. You will
    not be disappointed.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    This novel is a work of the heart. It is Vaddey Ratner's chance

    This novel is a work of the heart. It is Vaddey Ratner's chance to put meaning to the lives of those she lost. She is bringing them back through her words so that others may know that they once existed on this Earth. This novel brings to life a period of history that I never fully understood before reading her book. I knew about the "killing fields" and I knew that Pol Pot was a very very bad man but I did not know the details of what occurred in Cambodia during the late 1970′s. In the Shadow of the Banyan, brings the horror and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge into the light of day. While a heavy focus of the novel is the day to day life of under the Khmer Rouge, the stars of this novel truly are the Cambodian people who fought to survive and to hold on to those they loved whether in the flesh or in memory.

    This is Vaddey Ratner's debut novel. It is an amazing debut! Although all of the main events in the story that happen to Raami also happened to Vaddey, she chose to write it as fiction rather then non-fiction so that she could more easily tie events together and fill in the gaps of memory that would be expected after so long a time. I am grateful that she put her experiences out as fiction because I think she will reach more people through fiction. I was a young child during the period covered in this book yet I knew very little of the piece of history. As I read In the Shadow of the Banyan, I found myself constantly going to Google to search for more information on this time period, filling in my own gaps of knowledge.

    I recommend that you read this book. I also recommend that you read it with a tissue box within your reach. As Chris Cleave, the author of Little Bee, said this truly is a novel that is "heartbreaking and impossibly beautiful" at the same time. It feels weird to say a novel is beautiful when it is about such a seriously sad subject, but this novel is beautiful. Read this book!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Must Read

    Such a dark time yet the writing is almost poetical. Quite a story told to the reader.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    not deep enough for me

    I realize the author spent alot of time and effort, however, as an historical account of Cambodia's Kymer Rouge period, it leaves the horror out in this emotional second hand story from an eight year old's perspective. Recommended for young people, as the bloody parts are absent and only hinted.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    Wonderful book.

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. The character and story stayed with me long after reading the book. This is one of those books you wish didn't end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Highly recommended

    A beautifully written book, each word to be savored.It lets the reader see into a world that is hard to fathom, beautiful but heart breaking. I did not want this book to end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    One of the best I've read this year.

    Always knew the history of Cambodia and the Khemer Rouge was sad but the story of this family was so amazing. I could not stop reading and even though I knew this was fiction I felt as though it was happening right in front of me. Beautifully written.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Moving. I was part way through this book (on Kindle - no back c

    Moving.

    I was part way through this book (on Kindle - no back cover to read) before I realised that it was semi-autobiographical. Knowing this made it so much more powerful. It is a story of amazing courage and determination to live. The author was only 5 years old in 1975, when the change in regime that resulted in the atrocities of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, occurred.

    The narrator of this novel is seven at the start. She is from a wealthy family, related to the King, and has never known any hardship. As news filters through of the Khmer Rouge's uprising in the town, the adults realise that their lives could be changed as a result, but no one could have had any inkling of the serious nature of this change.
    The 'Organisation's' method of control was to instil fear and panic, separating family groups and forcing everyone to work at a punishing rate, on megre rations. All this is recorded historically, but the strength of this book was the incidious way that things seemed to get gradually worse and worse, along with the telling of events with the naiivity of a seven year old.

    For someone who didn't speak a word of English until she was eleven years old, Vaddey Ratner's descriptions are wonderful:
    "...the whole house was hot and stuffy, like the inside of a balloon."
    and "Pok looked at me. Silence seemed to have overtaken him again. Then his face broke open like the morning sun."

    There is an author's note at the back of the book, explaining how she came to write it and how difficult it was to relive these events. I sincerely hope it was theraputic for her.

    An excellent, if harrowing, read. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    Beautiful

    One of the best contemporary wrks ive read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Beautifully written

    Although I have not completed the book yet, I was instantly drawn in to the story by the descriptive writing. The characters have a very real feel to them and I am eager to read more! I highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    I really enjoyed this novel by Vaddey Ratner. It was extremely

    I really enjoyed this novel by Vaddey Ratner. It was extremely well written and although it is told from the perspective of a child, it is full of meaningful insight. I really didn't know much about the Cambodian Revolution before starting this novel but Ratner does an exceptional job of weaving true historical details into her semi-autobiographical novel. The author's notes at the end of the book were definitely worth reading as well. I would recommend this novel very highly!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Enjoyed this book.

    interesting subject and very good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Informative Reading

    The book introduces the reader to the class distinctions in what was Cambodia and also the character of the peaceful masses. The revolution was frightening even to the reader. I can see why the narrator wanted to write to honor her parents and family.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    enjoyed the book, informative.

    Information I never knew. Shocking story of what the people went through. Told beautifully.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Great read

    This book is very well written. One is transported back in time by the memories of a young princess and her family and her horrific experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. I was not aware of this tragedy that unfolded during the 70's and found the young character to be mature beyond her years. Very sad at times, but hope and vision were not lost.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Amazing

    This story is both amazing and heartbreaking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Highly recommended

    A beautiful and harrowing book. An amazing story told from the point of view of a child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    moon

    Awsome book could not put it down.

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  • Posted July 18, 2013

    Hauntingly beautiful!

    Hauntingly beautiful!

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