Matthew Dunaway Attorney at Law September 2018

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

PO Box 531168 Birmingham, Alabama 35253

NSIDE What’s Most Important? .............................. page 1 Falsities You’ve Been Told About Jury Duty ...................................................... page 2 Our Clients Say It Best .................................. page 2 The Best Lawyers in Pop Culture ................ page 3 Late-Summer Panzanella ............................ page 3 Finding Truth in Fiction ............................... page 4

‘In the Shadow of the Banyan’ by Vaddey Ratner A Page FromMatt’s Bookshelf

One of my favorite contemporary novels is “In the Shadow of the Banyan” by Vaddey Ratner. The book is a work of fiction, though it is based on real-life events the author herself experienced as a child growing up in Cambodia in the 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge took control and murdered over 1.5 million people. “In the Shadow of the Banyan” tells the story of a 7-year-old girl named Raami whose childhood ends the morning her father arrives with news of a civil war that has overtaken Cambodia’s capital. The book follows her family’s odyssey across Cambodia after being expelled from their home in the city, forced into the countryside, and held in various camps where they must fight for survival. Horrible things happen, and when reading, you can be overwhelmed by the atrocities people commit against each other.

This is a heavy book, but I also describe it as a tragically beautiful novel. Ratner’s writing is amazing, and while Raami and her family may be works of fiction, you can feel the truth behind the words. There are times when nonfiction does. You could read a history book on the Khmer Rouge regime and the Cambodian killing fields, but it doesn’t seem real until you get fiction sheds more light on truth than

a personal look at the people who lived through the tragedy — and those who didn’t. That’s the power of a story. As this is inspired by the author’s life, you know the young girl in the story will survive. The book does have a happy ending of sorts, but getting to that ending is a ride. It will rip your heart out and leave it on the floor. But I could not recommend this book more highly. If you love good writing and a good story, you will not regret reading “In the Shadow of the Banyan.”

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