Blind Revenge on the Blameless Victim

First They Killed my Father
Loung Ung
Non-fiction
HarperCollins
2000

first_they_killed_my_fatherI didn’t much like being in Cambodia the first time I went there in early 2014.  Led by the most unbearable tour guide imaginable* in a small group made up mostly of middle-aged Australian couples with whom the only thing I had in common was a nationality, I experienced what in retrospect was most likely culture shock. And for a time I wondered if it was because of the effects of the Khmer Rouge genocide on the country. Such a savage and profound event leaves scars on people who endure it, and on the nation itself.

Nonetheless, even though my mother gave me First They Killed My Father to read before we left on this trip, I resisted it.  I didn’t want to read misery porn, which any biography about the Khmer Rouge must surely be.  It took these last few years for me to finally work up to reading it.  Along with a little assistance from a Dateline special and Sue Perkins travelling along the Mekong. Continue reading

Did I Choose Something I Should Regret?

The Little Red Chairs
Edna O'Brien
Literary fiction
Allen & Unwin
December 2015

9780571316281Firstly allow me to apologise for being spotty this past month.  NaNo, family engagements and now illness have quashed my ability to write all that much of anything that was not my current novel project, or indeed anything at all since the start of December.  Distressing.  But let us set that aside, because the novel I’m reviewing this week, The Little Red Chairs is a fair bit more distressing, since it deals with the aftermath of the Bosnian War and genocide.

Continue reading

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