New from Simon & Schuster

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
The Innovators by Walter Isaacson
Rocks by Joe Perry
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
As You Wish by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
In the Shadow of the Banyan

In the Shadow of the Banyan

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • freshman reading
You are about to read an extraordinary story, a PEN Hemingway Award finalist “rich with history, mythology, folklore, language and emotion.” It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the Cambodian killing fields between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss.

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 the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her 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 a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451657715 | 
  • June 2013
Add to Cart
List Price $16.00
Usually ships within 1 business day

Video

Transforming Tragedy into Art

Vaddey Ratner discusses IN THE SHADOW OF BANYAN, her novel depicting her family's unimaginable experience during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s.

Videos related to this book

Read an Excerpt

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for In the Shadow of the Banyan includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Vaddey Ratner. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

To keep you is no gain, to kill you is no loss.” For seven-year-old Raami, the collapse of her childhood world begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the upheaval that has overwhelmed the streets of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh. It is April 1975, and the civil war between the U.S.-backed government and the Khmer Rouge insurgency has reached its climax. As Raami plays in the magical world of her family’s estate, she is intrigued by the adults’ hushed exchanges that pit hopes for the long-awaited peace against fears that this might be the end of the life they know, a life protected and cushioned by their royal lineage. On the morning of the lunar New Year, a young soldier dressed in the black of the Revolution invades that world of carefully guarded privilege. Within hours, Raami and her family join a mass exodus as the new Khmer Rouge regime evacuates Cambodia’s cities.

Over the next four years, see more

More Books from this Author

This free sampler features extended excerpts from six novels coming in 2012 from Simon & Schuster. The books and authors presented in this sampler include  In One Person, the first new novel in three years from  John Irving, Carry the One by Carol Anshaw, Gold by Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee,  In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer, and The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos. In addition to these exclusive previews, the...
Read more about this book

About the Author

Vaddey Ratner
Photograph by Kristina Sherk

Vaddey Ratner

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Having endured four years under the brutal regime, she arrived in the United States in 1981 as a refugee not knowing English and eventually went on to graduate summa cum laude from Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!