Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

Fascinating insight – In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner


My Review:

This is an evocative, distressing and moving portrayal of what happened in Cambodia during the Civil war, described in a story but based on the author’s personal childhood experiences of the events. It is an emotive read, showing the horrendous events and the determination and resilience of seven year old Raami and her Mum. The author skilfully paints vivid images of the people and events in the imagination of her readers. It is through such superb descriptions that the events will not be forgotten. This is a fascinating and unforgettable read that I can’t recommend highly enough. It gives an insight into the culture, legends and beliefs which helped Raami keep endeavouring to survive.

Thank you to the publishers and Amazon for my copy of this book which I have voluntarily read and honestly reviewed.


For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labour, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood – the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

2 comments on “Fascinating insight – In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

  1. Anne Williams
    September 6, 2020

    Do you know, I read this one quite a few years ago, and I can still remember it so clearly. I thought it was quite wonderful too – and I really like your review xx


    • bicted
      September 6, 2020

      Thank you, Anne. I suspect it will be one of those unforgettable books for me, too. Glad you like my review! xx


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