Two copies of IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN by Vaddey Ratner arrived in the office a few months ago. My son, Greg, grabbed one and read 100 pages on his train ride home and emailed me from the train to say, “This is an incredible book.” By the next day, he had finished it and was hounding me to read it so we could talk about it. When I got a few pages in, I saw why and knew that the voice of seven-year-old Raami was not going to be one I forget anytime soon. The book is set in 1975 after the Cambodian Civil War as Cambodia is overtaken by the Khmer Rouge. Raami and her family, who have a prosperous life, are ousted from their home and held in the clutches of the Khmer Rouge, who move them from camp to camp, where survival under primitive and abusive conditions become the world of her childhood. The genocide during this time kills more than two million people.
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