- Title: Music of the Ghosts
- Author: Vaddey Ratner
- ISBN: 9781476795782
- Page: 394
- Format: Hardcover
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Leaving the safety of America, Teera returns to Cambodia for the first time since her harrowing escape as a child refugee She carries a letter from a man who mysteriously signs himself as the Old Musician and claims to have known her father in the Khmer Rouge prison where he disappeared twenty five years ago.In Phnom Penh, Teera finds a society still in turmoil, where pLeaving the safety of America, Teera returns to Cambodia for the first time since her harrowing escape as a child refugee She carries a letter from a man who mysteriously signs himself as the Old Musician and claims to have known her father in the Khmer Rouge prison where he disappeared twenty five years ago.In Phnom Penh, Teera finds a society still in turmoil, where perpetrators and survivors of unfathomable violence live side by side, striving to mend their still beloved country She meets a young doctor who begins to open her heart, immerses herself in long buried memories and prepares to learn her father s fate.Meanwhile, the Old Musician, who earns his modest keep playing ceremonial music at a temple, awaits Teera s visit with great trepidation He will have to confess the bonds he shared with her parents, the passion with which they all embraced the Khmer Rouge s illusory promise of a democratic society, and the truth about her father s end A love story for things lost and things restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness, Music of the Ghosts is an unforgettable journey through the embattled geography of the heart and its hidden chambers where love can be reborn.
Recent Comments "Music of the Ghosts"
Love.hope humanity. Intangible, yes, but also the building blocks of self-preservation, renewal : These are the most durable possesions I have. If Vaddey Ratner's debut In the Shadow of the Banyan was an emotional and beautifully written read (if sometimes structurally weak), Ratner's follow up continues to showcase her lush and gorgeous writing while also delivering a more complicated, less autobiographical, and ultimately a stronger total package of a second novel. I'd give this a solid four s [...]
I'm setting this aside . Beautifully written and an important story but too slow and I just can't plough through it now. Maybe I'll go back to it at some point.
The gift that was our trip to see Hamilton keeps on giving. Recently the Library Hotel called to say they loved the blog post I wrote detailing our stay, and wouldn’t you know it, they still had a copy of that ARC I mentioned wanting to steal from the front desk, and if I’d confirm my address, they’d put it in the mail and send it to me with their thanks.See, kids? The lesson here is don’t steal things. Write publicly about your desire to steal them, and people will give them to you for [...]
Thank you to Touchstone and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.I read Ratner’s debut, In the Shadow of the Banyan, earlier this year and was mesmerized by her lyrical language and her convincing child narrator. In many respects, Music of the Ghosts is a spiritual sequel to that debut. In Ratner’s own words, “If my first novel…is a story of survival, Music of the Ghosts is a story of survivors.” This second novel is about a woman named Suteera who survived the Khmer Rou [...]
3 ½-stars, if we could do that hereere are many things this novel does very well, yet i couldn't get past feeling that it was overwritten, to the point i was distracted by the writing a few times, instead of being swept along by the story. (and i'm not even sure that's the right way to describe it? and i am sorry if this sounds like a jerk-ish criticism for a book dealing with such important and difficult subject matter.)but let's focus on the good!! ratner does have a lyrical quality to her wr [...]
This is one melancholy book, as it would have to be. Almost 40 years have passed since the genocide of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Teera, who escaped with her aunt to the U.S. as a child, now returns to Cambodia, haunted by her past and struggling with grief after her aunt's death. A man called The Old Musician claims to have several instruments of her father's, and wants to return them. The novel weaves between their perspectives as both grapple with the past while trying to find hope a [...]
I think my response to this novel may be skewed by the fact that it is the FITH NOVEL IN A ROW about War that I have read - and I rarely read move than two or three of them in a year! Still, other than a few problems with pacing (as others, I believe, have mentioned) I found this a beautifully written and detailed visit to the recovering country of Cambodia, a place dearly loved, I would have to say, by its author. The moral complexities that the brutal events of war are also explored in the cha [...]
In a continuous effort to read internationally this fit the bill. A book about Cambodia by a Cambodian American author. In retrospect, I probably should have read the author's debut instead, a semi autobiographical tale of her and her mother's survival of the Khmer Rouge regime. It seems closer in line with the sort of story I'd be into. In this book she revisits similar themes, namely the horrors of the aforementioned Khmer Rouge regime, which, of course, was horrific enough to merit any number [...]
Review originally published 18 April 2017 at Falling Letters. I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Vaddey Ratner, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime of 1970s Cambodia, has penned an extraordinary tale in Music of the Ghosts. She writes with grace about “questions of responsibility, atonement, forgiveness, and justice in the more everyday settings in which survivors find themselves” (from the afterword). In exploring such questions, Teera, the [...]
This is the authors second book, the first being: In The Shadow of the Banyan, about her own escape from the atrocities of the war in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime. Music of the Ghost is a novel which takes place in Cambodia before, during and after the Khmer Rouge regime, and is about the lives of certain characters, in present day and the aftermath of what happened to them and how they are dealing with their own guilt, sorrow, remembrances and a general longing to have that part of th [...]
As Americans, we know quite a bit about the Vietnam War and the destruction we Americans unleashed on that nation. But I have the feeling that most Americans couldn't even point out Cambodia on a map, let alone know about the atrocities that were happening there, both internally and by the US, at the same time. Being an absolute sponge when it comes to information, I had heard both of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime, and I knew both were quite terrible. This book definitely brings all of thos [...]
3.5 stars. I found the writing to be tedious at times. Although, I did learn much about Cambodian history that I did not know. Took me too long to finally finish it and then felt the story was left at loose ends.
I loved Ratner's first novel In the Shadow of the Banyan and was so excited to read this one as I know Ratner creates scenery and characters that are descriptive and evocative.Here, we have a woman, Teera, that fled Cambodia during the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge when she was just a child. She returns to her homeland over twenty years later to pay honor to her aunt who has died. At the temple where her family is given homage, a man we know as the Old Musician invites Teera to visit him as [...]
I hate to give a negative review of a book that highlights a difficult topic that's often forgotten about when it comes to modern storytelling, so please don't think of three stars as a "bad" review because it's not a bad book. Vaddey Ratner tells the story of a Cambodian refugee thoughtfully and beautifully. I just found the pacing of the story a bit slow and struggled to stay invested in what was happening.
Please read all of my reviews at ultraviolentlit!Music of the Ghosts is Ratner’s second novel – her first was the semi-autobiographical work, In the Shadow of the Banyan. This one is populated with fully fictional characters, but based once again in the horrific reality of the Khmer Rouge regime. While Banyan is a story of one family’s survival of the Cambodian genocide, Music of the Ghosts shows us how the survivors struggle to move forward in the aftermath of war. Suteera was a young gir [...]
That was an excruciatingly beautiful book. And by excruciating I mean, “Rip your heart out, remember why you hate most of humanity, and then remind you that sometimes good things do happen”. That about sums it up. Also, why does it feel like the entire Khmer Rouge timeline was left out of our history books? Could it have something to do with the American bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War? Or is it just our general attitude of turning a blind eye to injustices in the non-Western worl [...]
I would rate this between a 4 to 4.5. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. A beautifully written but disturbing tale of life and survival during the Khymer Rouge rampage in Cambodia. I absolutely loved Ms. Ratner's first novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan, a novel based on her and her family's harrowing experiences during the Khymer Rouge time. I really liked this one, too,but did find it difficult to get through. It is not a page turner as it involves some very distur [...]
(Dec) I do not usually read a book for the writing - I enjoy books with good plot, enjoyable characters, humor, and dialogue. This book really didn't have any of this, yet I found it a beautifully written book. The writing was lyrical and evocative, and even though there was some really hideous descriptions of torture towards the end, there was a peacefulness about the book that worked for me. Terra is a Cambodian refugee who has lived most of her life in Minnesota. After her beloved aunt (only [...]
I don't know the last time a read a book so slowly, so thoroughly and not wanting it to ever end. This book is amazing!!! I can't say enough about it. As a "follow-up" to Vaddey's first novel, "In the Shadow of the Banyan" (a story of survival in the Khmer Rouge genocide), "Music of the Ghosts" is a story of survivors. It explores the questions of responsibility, atonement, forgiveness and justice in present day situations where the characters find themselves face-to-face encountering the past. [...]
A story of two lives, mysteriously connected by the past. Teera, a 37 year old woman has been living in America for almost 25 years, after escaping from Cambodia as a child refuge. She returns to Cambodia to meet an elderly man known as the Old Musician, who says he knew Teera's father and wants to return some musical instruments that were left for her. Teera returns to a country that has changed dramatically, but there are images and incidents that bring back memories of the past. Similarly, th [...]
Although it is slow at times, I loved this book. It is beautifully written. Ratner knows how to use words to reach deep inside the heart and evoke strong emotion. Because I lived in Cambodia for 18 months, this book felt like a homecoming to me. The Khmae language, the smells, the sights, the sounds , the tastes, the culture all came flooding back and the 7 years that have passed since our return melted away with the words on theses pages. I loved my journey back to my adopted home This book is [...]
This follows Teera, a Cambodian woman who escaped the genocide and came to America as a girl. Now, distraught from the death of the aunt who was the only other relative to escape with her, she decides to return to Cambodia after receiving a letter from an old musician who somehow has the instruments that her father once played.This is a beautiful book, and quite powerful by the end, but in my opinion the author spent too many pages at the top of the novel inside the heads of these two viewpoint [...]
4 1/2 stars. Beautifully written. Very inciteful reguarding Cambodian 20th century political/sociological history while tackling the human condition during war, rebellion and refugee/immigration realities. This is a must-read for Americans who lived through the Vietnam Nam war era but have a very sketchy idea of how the Cambodians were fairing during this time and years afterward. Most telling for me is how one can get involved in a cause for altruistic reasons and then find oneself ensnared in [...]
Through the story of a Killing Fields survivor’s return to Cambodia from America in 2003 to search for signs and memories of lost family, this impressive novel captures and fully communicates the anguish, fear, and sadness of the country’s and its people’s experience of revolution, war, and Khmer Rouge terror. At the same time, the intertwining in the plot of characters’ past histories and present situations brings out powerful forces of hope, love, redemption, and personal and cultural [...]
Beautiful and haunting. The novel is divided into three parts -- the first part is a little slow as you get to know the characters but then you fall for Suteera and her companions in Cambodia. Ratner does an excellent job weaving the history of Cambodia's bloody years of American intervention and internal political war with the actual human toll that impacted every single person across the country. This impact is long-lasting and Music of the Ghosts demonstrates how this echoes for both the refu [...]
Another essential read for anyone wondering just how awful the Khmer Rouge were (very) and how easily they were able to gain power and control (easily).Not quite a 5 star as it's sometimes hard to work out the people and time (both move around a lot). This could just be my fault though. Beautifully written, with the stamp of someone who actually experienced this hell on earth.Although it skirts (mainly) around the question of torture, what is described is terrible enough to warn people off with [...]
Some titles of books make you wonder why they were chosen to portray the essence of the novel.Not with Music of the GhostsOne would be hard pressed to find a novel that is so evocative ,the words playing like the strings of a harp, conjuring up poetic images that you want to scoop in your hands and swallow sweetly. Ratner herself is a child of the Khmer, escaping Cambodia, and filled with conflicted memories. She brings this visceral reality to the novel, living between the ghosts of yesteryear [...]
Music of the Ghosts is an intense novel about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s. I found it difficult to get through at times, and I had to be in the right mood to read it (in fact, I actually took a break from it to read something much lighter). It focuses on two characters who survived and are confronting their past in the present day (early 2000s), and who have a connection with each other from the past. The chapters alternate between the two characters, and move around between [...]
Are you ready to have your heart opened and repaired in the space of a novel? We have been so lulled by the freedoms in America that we might forget how tenuous they are, how law, order, common sense, human decency can be stripped and crushed by war, by violence and extremism. In her second novel, Music of the Ghosts, Vaddey Ratner brings alive the voices and music of Cambodia, a country emerging from the devastation of genocide. Through the melodies of remembered loves, and the shared history o [...]
Music of the Ghosts is a rich, powerful and very emotional novel. I learned quite a lot of the history of Cambodia and the survivors of what's known as the Cambodian Holocaust. How Ms. Ratner seamlessly weaves the stories of Suteera and The Old Musician is beautiful. The stories of the various survivors and the land is haunting. The detailed descriptions of the war, the struggles to survive, the pain, anguish and true unending love of life and land is amazing. I had never heard of Ms. Ratner pri [...]
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