In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

by Vaddey Ratner | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1451657706 Global Overview for this book
Registered by zosime of Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on 10/7/2012
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by zosime from Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Sunday, October 07, 2012

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 she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of 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 testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

Journal Entry 2 by zosime at Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Friday, December 07, 2012
This book was beautifully written, but difficult to read. I am very, very glad I read it.

I am passing this on to HoserLauren, who won it in the Debut Novel Swap at

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, December 22, 2012
Received today, just before Christmas time! Thanks Zosime and happy holidays.

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, March 16, 2013
Seven year old Raami lives in luxury in the capital of Cambodia. She comes from royal lineage, has a nanny, and loves the flowers that the caretaker plants. Her world is torn apart when revolutionary soldiers of Khmer Rouge force everyone out of the capital. Raami's family moves to their summer home but soon get forced out of that as well. Their next home is a school, where they stay in a classroom. When soldiers enter the school and demand that Raami tell them who her father is, being only 7, Raami answers honestly. The soldiers are looking for highly educated, wealthy individuals, which almost guarantees the death of her father. The family is moved from place to place. They are broken up and brought back together. They meet many terrible people but there also a few warm-hearted people that help them stay alive. This is a heart wrenching story of a family getting torn apart during a war.

This novel is the first for author Vaddey Ratner but it reads like she's a seasoned writer. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but not in a way that only English Majors could understand. For me it was never hard to read.

The emotions described within this book are so raw and real. Ratner describes at the end of the book that the story is very close to her own. It's really amazing how much Raami understands and grows over the two years this book takes place. At the same time, Raami doesn't understand some things that the reader does which adds further to this novel.

Really, I don't think I can praise this novel enough. It's definitely my best read of the year so far and I imagine it will still be very high on the list by the time the year is done.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, March 23, 2013
This book is now with me :)

Journal Entry 6 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, June 14, 2013
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.

Journal Entry 7 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, July 06, 2013
Mailed today to my birthday exchange partner!

Journal Entry 8 by wingnimrodielwing at Evanston, Illinois USA on Saturday, August 31, 2013
Received in the birthday exchange from HoserLauren

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