Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tough Love in February?

This month WOW Exchange Book Group is choosing to read the story of Loung Ung through her memoir "First they killed my father; A daugther of Cambodia remembers."

Here's a brief description of the book:

In 1975, Luong Ung was the five-year-old child of a large, affluent family living in Phnom Penh, the cosmopolitan Cambodian capital. As extraordinarily well-educated Chinese-Cambodians, with the father a government agent, her family was in great danger when the Khmer Rouge took over the country and throughout Pol Pot's barbaric regime. Her parents' strength and her father's knowledge of Khmer Rouge ideology enabled the family to survive together for a while, posing as illiterate peasants, moving first between villages, and then from one work camp to another.

Her restrained, unsentimental account of the four years she spent surviving the regime before escaping with a brother to Thailand and eventually the United States is astonishing--not just because of the tragedies, but also because of the immense love for her family that Ung holds onto, no matter how she is brutalized. Skillfully constructed, this account also stands as an eyewitness history of the period, because as a child Ung was so aware of her surroundings, and because as an adult writer she adds details to clarify the family's moves and separations. Thirty-three years after the rise of the Khmer Rouge, this powerful account is a triumph.

Come join the discussion at Javaholic in the Inner Richmond neighborhood (Balboa St. on the corner of 6th Ave.) on Sunday February 24 at 2pm.

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