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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

In the Shadow of the Banyan

In the Shadow of the Banyan - Vaddey Ratner Received as a giveaway from Goodreads First Reads. I don't think I've read a novel set in Cambodia yet, though I've read plenty of non-fiction, memoirs, travel books, and bird guides.***After reading: Ratner chose to fictionalize her lived experience rather than writing a straight memoir. While I imagine I'd appreciate her memoir as well, her decision means that she was able to change events for greater narrative coherence, symbolic resonance, and lyricism. In the Shadow of the Banyan is both more clearly structured and more literary than any of the memoirs I've read of the Khmer Rouge time. While the rawness and veracity of the memoirs holds the readers' attention, Ratner comes at the same content as fiction, which opens other possibilities to engage and hold the reader's attention. A strong effort, and I look forward to her future work.