In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel Summary
Vaddey Ratner

Everything you need to understand or teach In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner.

  • In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel Summary & Study Guide

In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel Overview

Vaddey Ratner’s semi-autobiographic novel In the Shadow of the Banyan tells the story of a Cambodia brutalized by the Khmer Rouge regime. Told in the first-person perspective, seven-year-old Raami narrates the struggles she and her aristocratic family face. The revolutionary regime drives Raami and her family from their home in the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, to the countryside, where they are forced to perform grueling manual labor. Throughout continued relocation and separation, the family is divided by death, back-breaking work, and the shifting whims of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. In the Shadow of the Banyan considers themes of privilege, resiliency, hope, and the role of imagination in the direst of circumstances.

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