Music of the Ghosts

Music of the Ghosts

A Novel

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Touchstone,, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781476795782
Branch Call Number: FICTION RAT
Characteristics: 324 pages ; 24 cm


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Oct 24, 2017

If you’ve visited Cambodia, you will appreciate this haunting novel about Teera who returns to Cambodia after growing up in the US. Raised by her aunt, she returns because of a mysterious letter written by “The Old Musician.” Memories from the past sweep her up in the struggle Cambodia had during the time of the Khmer Rouge. Both her memories of childhood before emigrating to America, and those of the Old Musician, who was forced to commit atrocities on his fellow Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge are heartbreaking and, yet the book ends with the positive spirit felt in Cambodia today.

Jul 24, 2017

Sentences are overly descriptive, in my opinion, and made following the plot cumbersome; and I lost interest in what could have been a really good historical fiction.

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