[Samuel Ferrer] ✓ The Last Gods of Indochine [young-readers PDF] Ebook Epub Download ↠´ adbam.co.uk
[Samuel Ferrer] ✓ The Last Gods of Indochine [young-readers PDF] Ebook Epub Download ↠´ Having not much historical knowledge of this region of the world, The Last Gods of Indochine opened a fascinating new door as I found myself immersed in and engrossed by the mysterious Khmer culture Transporting me with lucid and vibrant descriptions of a lost time, the writing is tight and eloquent which sets a steady, page turning pace I particularly liked the author s illustrative passages as they pertain to the various character s consciousness in the context of visions , sleep , and death Character psychology is dynamic and well drawn in tandem with the alternating chapters of story line which deftly culminate for a very satisfying end Not only a very good novel to escape into, but one which imparts a certain wisdom of humanity, as past contrasts with modern. I know very little of the history of Cambodia, so The Last Gods of Indochine gripped my interest from the start for that reason alone As the story progressed, I grew attached to the characters and their travails and, all in all, I found the book a fascinating read The prose was a little strange at times, with beautiful, atmospheric passages followed by strange, almost nonsensical sentences, but for the most part, it was captivating The story itself wavered between the realistic and the fantastical, which worked well in a tale linked to ideas of malaria fevered dreams This is certainly a book to check out if you are a fan of dual timeline narratives that blend history with fiction. I received this book as a free review copy from the author. This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the March 2017 issue of World Literature Today Magazine. I can t help but love books like these Two different story lines, but ultimately connected The past has a way of really playing a role in the present Can t get enough of books like this But this follows Jacquie and Paaku Jacquie is the granddaughter of an explorer and she decides to do some traveling Paaku is a poor kid that is being forced into the world of politics and religion because they think he is the incarnation of a god There is really a third character mixed in and that is Jacquie s granddad since we get a glimpse from his POV through diary entries I think the blending of the three stories was done well I felt bad for Paaku. Jacquie was an interesting character, especially near the end Did I like her I don t think so, but she was interesting and complex I really didn t except the big reveal at the end It took a while for me to really get into the story The first few chapter were meh, but it got better around halfway Took a while, but once I was hooked, I was hooked I finished the second half of the book within one sitting Now. . the ending was good, but I m mad HOW CAN LEAVE ME LIKE THIS I MUST KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT GAHHHH It was a very open ended ending I hope there is another book or even a short story that wraps everything up with a nice bow Too much left unanswered What is Jacquie going to do next GAH shakes fist BUT like I saidvery good overall. In the end, this was pretty good It took me a while to really get into the story A little longer than I like, but I held on and then at the halfway point I was hooked The ending left me wanting The characters were interesting and complex I didn t really connect with anyone But I found them intriguing and that kept me going I do recommend this for those that like historical fictions and complex situations and people Out of five stars, I shall give thismmmm. 3 stars Nearly a four. The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer is an ambitious, complex novel which switches between 1294, 1861 and 1921, highlighting the changes taking place in Indochina It raises important questions about religion and the impact it has on humanity The novel begins in 1861 with the death of explorer Henri Mouhot from Malaria whilst travelling in Indochina In 1921, his granddaughter Jacquie follows in his footsteps, inspired by his journal which was posthumously published Jacquie is invited by a group of archaeologists under the title of the EFEO to join them in Cambodia to revisit her grandfather s findings Jacquie is a strange character who is compelled to travel whilst at the same time retaining her sense of British imperialism Other cultures represent disorder and she resents the fact that not everyone she meets speaks English We learn that during the First World War Jacquie volunteered with the Red Cross and was sent to the front line where she subsequently suffered from shell shock from which she hasn t entirely recovered. The whole novel is steeped in mysticism and both Henri and Jacquie experience haunting dreams often featuring a large bird, a monkey and a sea of milk As Jacquie gets nearer to Indochina, her dreams change and she begins to feel, as if the story of another has found me Tension is intensified for the reader as Ferrer uses foreshadowing when, in addition to the dreams Jacquie visits a fortune teller, to prepare us for the horrors to come The structure of the novel is such that we see Indochina s history from the 13th century onwards Ferrer juxtaposes Henri s journal with that of Jacquie to highlight the similarities and differences in both characters He also introduces the character of Paaku, a young boy who inhabited the Khmer Empire in 1294 Imperialism is everywhere in Jacquie s story with the wealth of the Europeans at odds with the poverty of the indigenous people The way travel had become accessible by 1921 is also depicted in the way it takes Jacquie 3 weeks to reach her destination whereas it took Henri than 6 months For me the most interesting parts of the novel are the ones which feature Paaku He is part of a society where the king and religion are intertwined and the power of both reigns supreme Paaku falls victim to religion when he is thought to have performed a miracle and so is hailed as the incarnation of the Hindu God, Vishnu As different religions coexist it is a delicate balance as to which one will have the most power as decreed by the king and consequently monstrous acts of inhumanity are carried out supposedly in the name of the various gods Ferrer uses his novel to explore the idea of religion and one of the central themes of the story is reincarnation As Jacquie arrives in Cambodia she is shown bas reliefs which depict the history of the Khmer Empire and she finds herself knowing the stories that the images represent In contrast to Jacquie s increasing belief in reincarnation, her travelling companion Victor, a Russian migr , is an atheist who believes firmly in science The religion of the Khmer Empire is entrenched in mysticism and superstition The complexity of the novel lies in the way it is structured and Ferrer s writing skills are very much in evidence in the way he retains full control over the time shifts and supernatural visions He manages to cleverly bring all the strands of the story together in a way that is both surprising and exciting for the reader The descriptive writing that Ferrer employs is also noteworthy as it evokes a vivid impression of Indochina, the smells, colours and chaos of a different culture are all brought to life through Jacquie s perspective The Last Gods of Indochine is not an easy read and requires a lot of focus but it is well worth the effort as the story is both engrossing and thought provoking If you re looking for something a little bit different and demanding than a pot boiler then I suggest you give it a try.
Beautifully written. The vivid details of surroundings were rich and fresh There were pages to linger and let the sense of place wash over you, and intense passages where I couldn t turn pages fast enough I expected the story of an actual, physical journey, but the bigger picture of politics and dogma, religion and superstition, karma and faith, are themes I am still chewing on days after finishing the book An excellent debut from this author. Finished reading March 13th 2017 I told Jean Luc I feared entering a world where everyone is a stranger the truth is, I am escaping from a world where everyone knew me too well A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review Thank you view spoiler I confess I m terribly behind with my ARCs and this historical fiction story was long overdue The Last Gods of Indochine belongs to one of my favorite genres and both the Cambodian setting, era and reference to local mythology had me intrigued immediately This novel by Samuel Ferrer surely didn t disappoint The Last Gods of Indochine is mostly set in Cambodia and has two main storylines one set in the 1920s and one set in the 13th century I was instantly charmed by the story of Paaku the Lotus Born all those centuries ago, and the mythology and ideas of his world are intriguing His chapters are without doubt my favorite part of this novel, and I enjoyed learning about both his world and his character I wasn t instantly convinced by Jacquie on the other hand, and it took me some time to connect to her It was very interesting to read about her journey to Cambodia though and the circumstances under which both her grandfather before her and Jacquie herself had to travel in those days I also particularly enjoyed their travels within Cambodia and it was nice to see both storylines slowly connect In short, The Last Gods of Indochine is a well written historical fiction story with an intriguing plot and a fascinating read in general for fans of the genre. In medieval Cambodia, Paaku the Lotus Born is an orphan raised by a Vishu priest One day something incredible happens and the community starts to believe Paaku might be the incarnation of a god Something that might turn out to be dangerous for him and he is not sure if he wants that title in the first place Meanwhile, in 1921, Jacquie follows the footsteps of her grandfather and travels to Indochina Her grandfather was a famous explorer who died during his travels, and Jacquie wants to learn about the country he explored Soon she starts learning about the tragedy of Paaku s history and the storylines slowly intertwineIf you enjoy reading well written historical fiction stories with an interesting setting and a touch of Asian mythology, The Last Gods of Indochine is an excellent choice Two stories set in two completely different centuries slowly start to intertwine And the modern world clashes with the medieval story I had a great time reading this novel and especially Paaku s POV stood out from me Such a fascinating story hide spoiler A beautifully written historical fiction novel about the Khmer Empire exploring fate, colonialism, spirituality and trauma Thanks to the author and to Rosie from Rosie s Book Review Team for offering me the opportunity to review this novel. I do not know much about Indochine or present day Cambodia, where this story is set, other than vague information gathered from movies, mostly about the war Recently, I have discovered that reading historical fiction is a great way to learn or at least wet one s appetite about places and historical periods one is not familiar with but feels curious about, in an engaging and entertaining way This novel is a good example of this, even though the author clarifies at the end that he has taken many liberties with the historical figures and also with the period reflected I recommend that readers don t skip the notes as they are helpful in sorting fancy from fact and also offer up to date information on current knowledge about the Khmer Empire and the reasons for its demise. The story is narrated in the third person and, after an introduction describing the last moments of Henry Mouhot, a French explorer known for discovering the lost civilisation of Angkor Wat that was never lost and had already been known to Westerners, but he popularised with his journals , alternates chapters from the point of view of Jacqueline Mouhot, Henry s granddaughter and Paaku, the Lotus Born Jacquie is a fictional character and we meet her in 1921, shortly after WWI She had helped at a field hospital in the Somme and we realise she is severely traumatised by an incident that took place while she was there She clearly shows signs of PTSD but we get to learn details of what happened and how it relates to the story later, although we know it was bad enough for her to be removed from her posting. Her story is interspersed with that of Paaku the Lotus Born, another fictional character, a young man living in XIIIc Khmer Empire, whose identity and story seem to be the stuff of myths and legend He does not know his true origin, as he is an orphan brought up by a Vishnu monk, and he seems to have been chosen although by whom and what for is not immediately evident and might have special healing powers. At first, I felt it easier to identify with Jacquie s story, as her point of view as a woman trying to get by in a man s world at such a time, and her state of mind were familiar to me even if she is not always the most sympathetic of characters, complaining about minor things, like the lack of comfort of some parts of the trip, and she appears quite na ve as to what her experience travelling to Asia might mean But Paaku s story is so beautifully told and shares such unique world views and experiences that it s impossible not to become enchanted at first, and later increasingly worried as to what his fate might be The we read, the we re struck by the links and connections between the two characters, and a number of possible explanations are offered during the novel as to why this should be so, although the final twist is not easy to guess I only realised what might be behind the story very close to the ending but I won t spoil it The story is complex and the changes in historical period, language style fragments of Mouhot s true diaries are included in the novel as his fictional granddaughter reads them and character s point of view demand attention and close reading, but the results are very rewarding At first, the changes in point of view might be somewhat frustrating if the readers identify with one of the stories than with the other but the reason for the choice of writing form becomes evident and in the end and it suits the subject perfectly. The language and descriptions of places, historical and social periods and lifestyles of both eras are poetic and evocative, and despite the third person narrative we get inside the characters heads and body and, thanks to the vivid writing style, experience their lives fully with our five senses The novel explores many themes mysticism, spiritual questions, colonialism, the different roles of men and women, family legacy, PTSD, fate and destiny, romance and there is much to keep us thinking, while our brains try to connect the stories at the same time as engaging with the language at a sensual level. It might be something purely personal, but for me, one of the only things I wasn t truly convinced about was the love story Other than being there, having similar interests regarding the story of the area, and being a man and a woman, there seems to be little that connects them other than a romantic subplot in the novel, although it works as a way to humanise Jacquie, make her vulnerable and it also facilitates the ending. Both of the stories narrated in this novel are stories of discovery of spiritual truths, fate, friendship, love, the price to pay for one s beliefs, fear and eventual peace I am not at all surprised by the book s nomination for the Man Asia Literary Prize This is a beautifully written book about places and historical periods that captures readers imaginations and allow the mind to fly. Great writing, and an interesting use of historical fiction with two separate but ultimately connected storylines from the past The first story is set in the 13th Century reign of the Khmer King Jayavarman VIII and the second between the 1860s and1920s This is a well written quality read I found every chapter to be entertaining in of itself and so maintaining a strong desire to read on I would have liked an ending with a few less swirling dreams and rather facts Most of the characters names are borrowed from history but precious little that is actually known about them With such a thin veneer of known history perhaps the ending had to be mysterious and ephemeral, leaving a host of possible paths along with the unsubstantiated assertion that science and not religions unprovable possibilities dictates our fate. I am critical of historical fiction that use long dead names but so little of the admittedly thin history I can forgive such a high degree of storytelling in the ancient plot, but the use of real people from modern history with the employment of so little factual information about them is hard to accept Nevertheless, I can t imagine that many living relatives will find much to question Ferrer avoids deformation of character and we are already a century away from their variously esteemed lives The broad brush strokes all feel to accurately reflect the periods, and magic aside, are very believable Perhaps I am allowing my love of history to make me over critical of this historical fiction, and certainly many reviews suggest that I am. Ferrer s descriptive writing is first class I can imagine that all his readers entertain the same picture and social interactions almost exactly as I do I could easily imagine myself to be an observer on the passenger boat, in the biplane, or climbing the walls of Angkor Wat I could smell the gangrene, feel the shacking earth, hear the booming shells, recalled in the mind of the volunteer auxiliary nurse, from the front line hospital wards of WWI I could feel that I was amongst elephants, monkeys and exotic people in two distinctly woven times in Indochina. Why does the title use the word Indochine rather than Indochina, when it is written in English I have no idea I see no sign of a French language version of this book And why the last gods, when that certainly isn t in any way the case Perhaps, once my concern is isolated and obtuse. This is a very enjoyable read, especially for those that like to set their minds on travels through distant times and civilisations Five stars, where those stupidly uninformative and variably indicative likes are required This book is strong on description that drives it plot rather than plot that needs description between its scaffolding Good writers can take one anywhere in time, real or imaginary, Ferrer can do that with aplomb. Jacquie Mouhot And Paaku The Lotus Born Are Divided By Six Centuries But Linked By A Common Curse In Medieval Cambodia, Paaku Is An Orphan Whose Community Believes He May Be A Reluctant Incarnation Of A God, Causing Sectarian Turmoil For The Kingdom S Leaders Meanwhile, In , Jacquie Follows The Footsteps Of Her Grandfather, A Famous Explorer, To Indochina, Where She Becomes Immersed In The Tragedy Of Paaku S History A Story Simultaneously Unfolding In The Intertwined Present And Past, A Story In Which She Still Has A Vital Role To Play