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In the Shadow of the Banyan
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About the Author

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. In 1981 she arrived in the United States as a refugee not knowing English and ultimately went on to graduate summa cum laude from Cornell University. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

Reviews

"An emotionally moving story . . . This tale of physical and emotional adversity grips readers without delving into the graphic nature of the violence that occurred at the time . . . Ratner's contemplative treatment of her protagonist and the love shared among the family stands in stark contrast to the severe reality they faced each day to survive. Knowing that the story was culled from Ratner's experiences as a child brings a sense of immediacy to this heartrending novel likely to be appreciated by many readers."--Library Journal
"In the Shadow of the Banyan is one of the most extraordinary and beautiful acts of storytelling I have ever encountered. . . . This book pulls off the unsettling feat of being--at the same time--utterly heartbreaking and impossibly beautiful. There are some moments in this story that are among the most powerful in literature. This is a masterpiece that takes us to the highs and lows of what human beings can do in this life, and it leaves us, correspondingly, both humbled and ennobled."--Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee
"Evocative, lyrical. . . . Accessible and profoundly moving, In the Shadow of the Banyan is destined to become a classic."--School Library Journal
"For all the atrocities witnessed and hardships experienced, Ratner's story is filled to an even larger extent with opportunism and beauty. Ratner's gift is her exquisite descriptions of the careful details of daily life . . . Ratner describes her desire to memorialize the loved ones she lost with an enduring work of art. She has done just that; hers is a beautiful tale with considerable poetry and restraint. In the Shadow of the Banyan is an important novel, written by a survivor with unexpected grace and eloquence."--Audrey Magazine
"One of those brave novels of resilience and the power of love that surface once or twice in a generation, like Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner."--Buffalo News
"Ratner's touching and beautifully written In the Shadow of the Banyan celebrates the human spirit, the power of story and imagination and the triumph of good over evil."--ShelfAwareness.com
"Vaddey Ratner's novel is ravishing in its ability to humanize and personalize the Cambodian genocide of the 1970's. She makes us look unflinchingly at the evil that humankind is capable of, but she gives us a child to hold our hand--an achingly believable child--so that we won't be overwhelmed. As we have passed from one century of horrors and been plunged into a new century giving us more of the same, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a truly important literary event."--Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

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