Khmer Top 5 Bestsellers You Should Download Today

Khmer top 5 bestsellers

It is unfortunate, if not surprising, that any list of Khmer language best-selling books is going to be Khmer Rouge heavy. In similar vein, this list of Khmer top 5 bestsellers is also heavily laden with writings about Cambodia’s darkest period. It would be lovely to be looking at books about the glorious Angkor Wat, the ancient Khmer Empire, or the vibrant streets of Phnom Penh.

But, it’s the dark stain left on modern Cambodia by Pol Pot that sells books and film rights to readers and audiences around the globe. So, buckle up as we look at some of the best literature from Southeast Asia dealing with Cambodian history and why we should all read it today.

Khmer Top 5 Bestsellers

Here are top 5 bestsellers written in the history of the Khmer language that have come from the culturally vibrant land of Cambodia.

“First They Killed My Father” By Loung Ung

Written by Cambodian-American author Loung Ung, “First They Killed My Father” is a powerful memoir about life under the Khmer Rouge. Born in Phnom Penh, Loung Ung survived the Pol Pot regime and the Cambodian genocide during the late 1970s when she was condemned to the work camps and trained as a child soldier. Her memoir provides a harrowing and personal account of the Khmer Rouge atrocities committed during the civil war.

The book is a heart-wrenching tale of a young girl’s struggle for survival in the face of unimaginable horrors. Loung Ung’s narrative is not just a personal story but also a reflection of the collective trauma endured by the Cambodian people. “First They Killed My Father” was turned into a movie by actress-turned-director Angelina Jolie. Loung’s sequel “Lucky Child” continues the story and focuses on her time in America with her brother compared to the experiences of the sister and two brothers she left behind.

Khmer top 5 bestsellers

“In The Shadow Of The Banyan” By Vaddey Ratner

Vaddey Ratner’s debut novel, “In the Shadow of the Banyan,” is a beautifully written, if fictional, account of the life of a 7-year-old girl named Raami during the Khmer Rouge era. The story is a vivid portrayal of the hardships and tragedies faced by Cambodians during this turbulent period, even if your father is royalty.

The title, “In the Shadow of the Banyan,” refers to the banyan tree that becomes a symbol of hope and resilience for Raami and her family members as they struggle with the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.

“When Broken Glass Floats” By Chanrithy Him

Chanrithy Him’s memoir, “When Broken Glass Floats,” provides yet another intimate perspective on life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. In this deeply personal account, Him recounts her experiences as a young girl growing up during the civil war.

The book delves into the daily life and struggles of the Him family as they struggle with the conditions in the Khmer Rouge labor camps. Through her vivid narrative, readers gain a profound understanding of the resilience and courage displayed by ordinary Cambodians during these desperate times. Despite the terror, Chanrithy’s family remains loyal to one another even as they risk their own lives.

“When Broken Glass Floats” serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Cambodian people and their capacity for survival. Him’s memoir has resonated with readers worldwide, shedding light on a dark chapter in Cambodia’s history where an estimated 2 million people died, and the strength of the human will to endure.

“The Gate” By François Bizot

Written by French ethnologist and author, François Bizot, “The Gate” is based on his own experiences during the Khmer Rouge’s brutal regime. The book is a gripping account of Bizot’s capture and imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge, as well as his interactions and relationship with the enigmatic Comrade Duch, who later became known for his role in the S-21 prison.

“The Gate” is a blend of memoir and historical reflection, offering readers a firsthand account of the Khmer Rouge’s ideology and the brutal realities faced by those caught in Cambodia after Pol Pot came to power. Bizot’s writing is both introspective and illuminating, making it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of Cambodia’s recent history.

“Survival In The Killing Fields” By Haing Ngor

A harrowing memoir by Haing Ngor, a Cambodian doctor who survived the Khmer Rouge regime, “Survival in the Killing Fields” later gained international recognition for being turned into the film “The Killing Fields.” Ngor’s account is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit as well and his part in the film won him the best Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar in 1995.

In the book, Ngor tells his own story and describes his experiences as a prisoner, his escape from the Khmer Rouge, and his subsequent life in the United States. His story not only sheds light on the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge but also highlights the strength and determination of those who managed to survive.

Some Honorary Mentions To Add To Our Bestsellers List

  • Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land by Joel Brinkley.
  • Michael Coe’s book Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places).
  • Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot by David Chandler.
  • Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick – Nominated for a National Book Award.

Read In The Original Khmer With Ling

Being able to read a language means you are taking huge strides towards proficiency in that language. With the Ling app, you will access all the aspects of learning Khmer – from conversation and comprehension to writing and reading. So, why not try the Ling app today? Download it at Google Play and the App Store.

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