In The Shadow of The Banyan is a novel based on the author’s family’s experience in Cambodia during the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979.
The story follows the life of Raami, a seven-year-old Cambodian princess, whose privileged life is destroyed when the civil war hits Phnom Penh. Displaced from home and separated from her father, she and her family must endure pain both physical and psychological in order to survive.
The novel explores important themes such as power, the relationship between love and guilt, and class. Most remarkably, it depicts the lives of characters forced to live in extreme circumstances, and investigates how that changes them.
What I Liked
I loved the geographic setting (even if the time setting is depressing). It’s a tough but incredible novel.
What I Did Not Like
It’s sad, so you have to be in a place to enjoy it.