Book author Geoff Ryman and me Photo taken by: Michaela Hackner
Phnom Penh, Cambodia–A dozen of Westerners and several Cambodians gathered for a book launch on the roof top of Foreign Correspondent of Cambodia/FCC on April 9, 2006. Geoff Ryman, a Canadian novelist, lecturer, and performer, presented his Cambodian history novel ‘the King’s Last Song’ to the public.
My Review: The King’s Last Song
Inspired by a visit to the spiritual and inspiring ancient and one of the world’s most wonder temple in Siem Reap, where Geoff observed an archeological dig near Angkor Wat, he began his discovering into history and modern life of the Kingdom of Cambodia. His ninth novel, titled in English, ‘The King’s Last Song,’ in Khmer ‘Kraing Meas’ (Golden Palm-Leaf Book), features King Jayavarman VII the Great who ruled Cambodia in the twelfth century.
A voice from the past brings hope for the future…
The novel, entirely a work of fiction, begins with William, a war survivor, and earns his living as a motor driver in Siem Reap, the top tourism destination and gateway to Angkor Wat.
Trained from his birth, he is friendly to everyone, even the one so rude to Tan Map, who killed his parents in the Khmer Rouge regime. Life, perhaps for William only: learns to live and accept, which is called love. Experienced in years-long conflict as a war fighter, Tan Map has too much to cope with the shadow of the past. His parents, brother and sister were faded away as the country survived the armed-conflict. He left nothing, but being rude to everyone. It is how he lashes out his anger to others, perhaps the only way to make him reaching peace. Near Angkor Wat, where United Nations Dig team working, the golden palm-leaf book was found, bright in the April heat. The inscription was believed to be a voice from the past that bring hope to the present nation. Both Tan Map, an Apsara police, and William, a Cambodian motor boy, work together to help Luc Andreid, a French archeologist, and to recover the stolen book.
A great king brings peace to warring nation. Centuries later his writings bring hope to those facing the heart-rending legacy of Cambodia’s recent history.
Half of the book delves into personal life of many ancient Kings; King Jayavarman VII was particularly one of them. From when he is a boy, to his acquaintance with one of his female slave, to his marriage to the most beautiful woman Jayarajadevi, to his being slave of the Cham, and to his being the most respected Buddhism king who conquered the most glorious period of Cambodia.
Thanks to John Weeks who got the discounted book for me, and so I had the book the signed by the author, an exciting moment.