This book was recommended by fellow blogger Renee, the Global Bookwork and it’s definitely a five out of five (like every book I mention on this site).
Raami has an idealistic childhood in her Phnom Penh home with loving parents and servants. But when war breaks out in 1975 and the Khmer Rouge force everyone to flee from the city, the family joins the throngs of people and head to their holiday home with Raami’s extended family. They are lulled into a false sense of security until they are ordered to leave not only their second home, but their car. They trudge along with the rest of the hoards where soldiers watch over them, their guns poised, without knowing where they are headed.
This compelling novel is based on the writer’s personal experiences with names and locations changed.
A 2018 Canada reads contester was inspired by the over five hundred people who arrived on Canada’s west coast from Sri Lanka.
We learn of Mahindan’s life in Lanka where he was a mechanic at the mercy of both the Lankan government and the Tigers; in Canada, Grace, a hard line adjudicator has a tough stance on those who don’t arrive through the proper channels; and Priya, a lawyer dragged into working with the refugees when she wants to specialize in corporate law.
What will happen to the refugees who are turned back? How will the Canadian officials’ characters change after working with the Tamils for months? This is absolutely the best read on the crisis in Lanka (that still continues today for anyone not Buddhist) and what Tamils have had to endure to stay alive.
After Anne and Serey, a Cambodian refugee, meet in a Montreal jazz club, they are drawn to each other. But when Pol Pot’s reign of terror ends, Serey is compelled to return to Cambodia to find his family. When he doesn’t return, Anne follows. She soon learns the depths of the tragedy and its after effects on the survivors.