Music of the Ghosts (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The story of a Cambodian girl who fled to a refugee camp in Thailand and eventually America.  She returns to Cambodia to find society still in turmoil.  So much loss and sadness, ghosts of family members lost but never forgotten.  This is a fascinating exploration of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime and its aftermath.  An interesting snapshot of a time that not many books are written about. 

— From Music of the Ghosts, Vaddy Ratner


An astonishing and powerful new novel from PEN/Hemingway finalist Vaddey Ratner.

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 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.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781476795782
ISBN-10: 1476795789
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English