The King’s Last Song – Reviews

Mon 20 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment

The King’s Last Song
Geoff Ryman

“Ryman’s brilliant new novel, “The King’s Last Song,” is permeated by the theme of salvation through destruction. In parallel narratives, Ryman reveals the (imagined) memoir of 12th-century ruler and Cambodia’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII, and presents the history of 20th-century Cambodia, a story of endless and eviscerating civil war. In so doing, he vividly creates a portrait of individuals whose souls are fused with that of their country, both ravaged and beautiful…. Ryman – best known as a fantasy writer but one who proved his power as an author of nuanced, rich historical fiction in the unsung novel “Was” – has not so much created as revealed a world in which the promise of redemption takes seed even in horror.”
Boston Globe

“The novel conveys not merely a story, but the light and darkness, despair and hope, tradition and Westernization that is Cambodia itself…. While peaceful William, war-consumed Map, and Cambodia-loving Luc could easily be flat, typecast characters, Ryman steers clear of such simplifications. Their interwoven histories are at times noble and at times horrifying, laced with profound emotions and punctuated with atrocities…. The King’s Last Song leaves one questioning preconceptions of good and evil, and conflicted between hope for and discouragement with the human race.”
Rain Taxi

* “An unforgettably vivid portrait of Cambodian culture past and present.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Ryman’s knack for depicting characters; his ability to tell multiple, interrelated stories; and his knowledge of Cambodian history create a rich narrative that looks at Cambodia’s “killing fields” both recent and ancient and Buddhist belief with its desire for transcendence. Recommended for all literary fiction collections.”
Library Journal

“In the end, it’s the vibrant emotional lives of Luc and his friends that capture the tragic beauty of Cambodia.”
Publishers Weekly

” Inordinately readable . . . extraordinary in its detail, color and brutality.”
The Independent

“Sweeping and beautiful. . . . The complex story tears the veil from a hidden world.”
The Sunday Times

“Richly layered, comparing past and present day Cambodia and is full of details and tidbits about Cambodian life that any reader will enjoy. It’s definitely piqued my interest in the country and I will be trying to find more books about it in the future.”
S. Krishna’s Books

Many more collected here.

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