Harriette Four Faces of Truth
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Bayon Monument
Photo by Barry Broman, from
his book Cambodia:
its Land and its People
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The name of maniacal Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot evokes images of unimaginable horror, eerily reminiscent of the nightmare of the Holocaust and presaging other genocidal regimes that continue into the 21st century. Watching the rise of the Khmer Rouge from different perspectives, the four fictional narrators of Four Faces of Truth describe how Pol Pot and a handful of other Paris-educated young people, tired of the corrupt feudal regime of Norodom Sihanouk and his inept successor Lon Nol, dream of creating a communist utopia in Cambodia. Instead, this dream mutates into a nightmarish experiment where ordinary people become mass murderers and today’s executioner could become tomorrow’s victim. Everyone fears for his life, and no one can be trusted in this abode of torment where the all-powerful, all-seeing organization known as Angkar has no regard for the humanity of its victims.

 

The intertwined paths of the four narrators mirror the tragedy of what was happening all around them in Cambodia. These compelling truth-tellers are: a serious young man who leaves a Buddhist monastery to serve as an aide to General Lon Nol; a well-educated teenage girl who abandons a life of privilege to join the Khmer communist movement; a young woman who studied medicine in China and treats Pol Pot’s wife for chronic paranoid schizophrenia; and a western archeologist who decries the damage done by the Khmer Rouge to Cambodia’s cultural heritage and natural resources. In lyrical language, punctuated by music, poetry, evocative dream sequences, and mystical folk tales and rituals, Four Faces of Truth provides today’s readers with vivid descriptions of the old colonial city of Phnom Penh, the beauty of ancient Khmer temples, and the exotic majesty of Cambodia’s mountains, wild jungles, dangerous rapids, immense waterfalls, and amazingly diverse wild life.

 

 

                     

  

 

   
 
Copyright 2013 - 2014, All rights reserved. Revised: May 2014.