Welcome to Travel Readings
Melbourne: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Books, Movies and Beyond…
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Washington, DC and New York
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome
Rio de Janeiro: Crimes of August (Agosto) by Rubem Fonseca
Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Liège (Belgium): Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Lisbon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia
Hyde Park, Chicago: Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Paris: Flowers of Ruin and Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Naples
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Tanzania
Sri Lanka: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
Books, Movies and Beyond… : Venice
Dublin: The Dead by James Joyce
Books, Movies and Beyond: Iran
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: The Matter of Desire (Materia del Deseo) by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Books, Movies and Beyond: Syria
Djibouti: Passage of Tears (Passage des Larmes) by Abdourahman Waberi
Books, Movies and Beyond: Armenia
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Bangkok: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Périgord, France: The Caves of Périgord by Martin Walker
Books, Movies and Beyond: Brussels
Naples: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro
Tajikistan: Hurramabad by Andrei Volos
New-York: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Israel and Palestine: To the End of the Land by David Grossman and Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany
Cape Town: Boyhood, Youth and Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Books, Movies and Beyond: India
Blue Ridge Mountains: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Books, Movies and Beyond: Algeria
Austrian Alps: A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) by Robert Seethaler
Books, Movies and Beyond: Africans in America
Zimbabwe: The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
Books, Movies and Beyond: Colombia
Belgian Ardennes: The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Côte d’Ivoire: Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Japan: Haruki Murakami and Amélie Nothomb
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Rope and The Denial of Saint Peter by Charles Baudelaire
Books, Movies and Beyond: Cairo
Vancouver: What is Remembered by Alice Munro
Ghent (Belgium): War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Haiti: An Aroma of Coffee and Dining with the Dictator by Dany Laferrière and The Comedians by Graham Greene
Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
Siena and Tuscany : Il Palio delle contrade morte by Fruttero & Lucentini and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
China : Wild Swans. Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Amsterdam: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Former Soviet Union: The Unwomanly Face of War  by Svetlana Alexievich
Provence: The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono, La charrette bleue by René Barjavel, Madame de Sévigné and Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp
Moscow: The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
Books, Movies and Beyond: Vietnam
Books, Movies and Beyond: The Wars in Vietnam

Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia

Muriel asked for some suggestions for her next trip to Cambodia and Laos. Unfortunately, I have never been in Laos, so I cannot help her for this country. If you have suggestions, don’t hesitate to give them in a comment.

For Cambodia and the country’s recent history, in particular the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79), the book by François Bizot « The Gate (Le Portail) » is an excellent testimony. He was a French ethnologist in Angkor when the Khmer Rouge took control of the country and captured him. He seems to have been the only Westerner who escaped the internment camps. One of the worse war criminals, Duch, interrogated him.


“The Gate” together with another autobiographic book by François Bizot which I have not yet read “Facing the Torturer (Le silence du bourreau) » inspired a recent movie by Régis Wargnier « The Gate (Le temps des aveux) » which describes the relationship between Bizot and Duch. It’s a very nice, very human movie. One interesting detail: Duch’s character is played by Cambodian actor Kompeak Phoeung who in real like also happened to be Duch’s interpreter when he was appearing in front of the Tribunal for the Genocide in Cambodia.

« The Killing Fields » is another great movie about the Khmer Rouge period and the friendship between a Cambodian and an American journalist. When I watched this movie for the first time, it opened my eyes about the horrors of the Pol Pot regime.  Here is the trailer:

Obviously, this is very dark period of Cambodian history and one might prefer lighter reading for a holiday trip.

The novel “The Sea Wall (Un Barrage contre le Pacifique)” launched Marguerite Duras’ career (the author of “The Lover”) and is partly autobiographical. It takes place in a concession bought by the author’s mother on the Gulf of Siam, then in French Indochina, now in Cambodia, close to the Vietnamese border.



The novel « The Sea Wall » has been adapted twice as a movie, first by René Clément in 1958 (under the title « This Angry Age ») which I have not seen, and then in 2008 by French-Cambodian realisator Rithy Panh with Isabelle Huppert in the mother’s role. I just watched it and found it excellent. Here is the trailer.



Muriel suggested another movie by Rithy Panh « One Evening after the War (Un soir après la guerre)”. It tells the story of a demobilized soldier at the end of the war who struggles to make ends meet but falls in love with a bar girl. She founds that movie: “Great, very subtle and delicate with a splendid photography. To be recommended!” I fully agree.





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