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Music Through the Dark: A Tale of Survival in Cambodia

Bree Lafreniere

52 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0824822668 / ISBN 13: 9780824822668
Published by Univ. of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Camerons Books and Magazines (Portland, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed by the author and the subject of the book on the first page. First Printing. This trade paperback is clean, tightly bound and in Fine condition. 157 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 26328

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Music Through the Dark: A Tale of Survival ...

Publisher: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


A record of the Cambodian soul, taking readers into the heart of a horrifying tragedy - one that claimed the lives of Daran Kravanh's parents and seven siblings and as many as three million other Cambodians. Daran's talent for playing the accordion saved his own life.

From the Inside Flap:

"I cannot tell you how or why I survived; I do not know myself. It is like this: love and music and memory and invisible hands, and something that comes out of the society of the living and the dead for which there are no words."

So begins the extraordinary story of one man's experience of Cambodia's holocaust during the 1970s. As Anne Frank did in her Diary, Daran Kravanh takes readers into the heart of a horrifying tragedy-one that claimed the lives of his parents and seven siblings and as many as three million other Cambodians. Among those murdered were thousands of intellectuals and artists; as a musician, Daran was himself a target for execution, but it was his talent for playing the accordian that saved his life. Throughout the Khmer Rouge period, the accordian became for Daran a seemingly enchanted instrument through which the spirit of life traveled.

From an early age Daran loved music. When a troupe of musicians arrives at his father's house, the eight-year-old Daran sees and hears an accordian being played for the first time: "It was magical, not sound alone but sound accompanied by light and warmth. It was a strange voice, like one from far away and at the same time within me." That night he plays an old folk song perfectly and effortlessly on the accordian, without instruction. Years later, starving and exhausted after weeks of forced labor, Daran will perform the same song while surrounded by his Khmer Rouge captors, who will spare his life after hearing him play. Time and again Daran will be brought to the brink of death and then saved, uncannily, by someone who wants to hear his music.

Music through the Dark is not just a book for those interested in Southeast Asian history or the Cambodian diaspora. It imparts a deeper understanding of the soul while providing a searching exploration of physical and spiritual survival, of meaning inherent in nature and existence. It is an original, unforgettable tale told with a quiet wisdom and insight that lifts the story out of the violence that generated it and the violence that it describes.

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