Book Review and GIveaway The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

Title: The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

Author: Sambath Meas

Genre: Family Memoir

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

This is a story about a father’s dream of escaping a war-torn country in search of stability and freedom, so that his children can live and thrive.

Sarin Meas, who was born and grew up in a remote village in Trangel, Kampong Chhnang, drifts from one place to another in search of a purpose, and a better life. In Pailin, a small town in western Cambodia known for its richness of gemstones, he meets a poor and uneducated girl whose daily life, from dusk until dawn, is strained by hard work: selling fruits and vegetables at the local market, along with cooking, doing laundry and cleaning up after strangers and relatives whom her aunt has taken in. If she doesn’t do her chores correctly and one of them tells on her, her aunt, a woman whose mood changes like a person suffering from a split personality, hurls foul language at her and beats her with any heavy object in sight. Sarin realizes that this young woman, whom everyone calls Thach, will die if she continues to live like this. So he marries her out of compassion. His compassion turns into love. Sarin and Thach form a family.

Tragically, after fifteen years of peaceful existence and independence from France, Cambodia gets sucked into the war of idealism between the world’s super powers—America, China, and the Soviet Union—by way of the Vietnam War. Cambodian leaders and people take sides. The Khmer Republic (backed by the United States) and the Khmer Rouge (backed by China, the Soviet Union and Vietnam) fight each other acrimoniously. After five years of battle, the relentless Khmer Rouge soldiers emerge victorious. Sarin has an opportunity to escape to Thailand with his family, but chooses to remain behind out of fear of the unknown. Soon he realizes the victors don’t know how to manage the country. Fear, paranoia and revenge turn them and their supporters into a killing machine.  Sarin, through cleverness and luck, helps his family navigate the horror of communism. When a second opportunity arrives, like thousands of other surviving Cambodians, he takes the chance to venture to the unknown—to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life for his family.

The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures is not only about the continuing of a family’s life cycle; it is also about a father’s idea—a purpose—that gets passed on to his daughter. In turn she hopes to pass it on to people not only within her community but also around the world.

“King Grandfather would like to wish that your memoir The Immortal Seeds will become successful.”

—Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

The Immortal Seeds is a story of war, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Touchingly told, Sambath pays homage to her family across the generations, and shares how they helped the Meases to survive the war and thrive in peace.”

—Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child

The Immortal Seeds exhibits a memoir’s emphasis on highly personalized, if not fully contextualized, experiences.”

—The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s Newspaper

I’ve read a lot of Holocaust memoirs before, and in a way, The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures, although set in a different era and a different part of the world, reminded me of that. Of families torn apart because of war. Of children’s lives destroyed because of tragedy. Of people fighting against all odds, finding hope in the smallest things.

Khmer Rouge was the name given to the followers of the communist party, the regime thatt ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. It was a harrowing time, especially for Sarin Maes, a young man who is simply looking ofr a better life. He meets a young girl called Thach and initially marries her out of compassion – a compassion that soon turns to love. But when the Khmer Republic (backed by the US) and Khmer Rouge (the Communist Party), some fifteen years later, start fighting, Sarin’s life takes a turn for the worse. Still, he’s clever and resourceful, and guides his family through some of the toughest times in Cambodian history, showing skill and determination, and then passing it on to his family.

This was an inspiring memoir / family history set during turbulent times, that manages to show the strengths, not just of a family, but of a community as well.

 

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