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This book is based on the real-life account of an ordinary boy’s extraordinary journey to adulthood in Cambodia after the United States left Indochina in 1975.
Through fate, any one of us could have been placed in his position, to witness genocide, fight in battle, bear the sorrow of loss and discover all-consuming love.
Told in a dreamlike narrative, Sinarth inspires us to live each day to its fullest and cherish life, no matter what obstacles are placed before us.
The setting sun headed yet again to the dragging horizon, throwing halos of ever-expanding light into the clouds, its fiery orange streaking the water in paths leading all the way back to Cambodia.
Sinarth heard the explosion just before it blew out his hearing, like a bazooka firing, then felt a faraway thud of a crumpled body hitting the ground from a height. Everything went black except for a few last vestiges
of light shrinking slowly to a pinprick before puffing out to grey.
Everyone is levelled looking after each other, whether in battle or in death,there being no rank among the dead.
In the end, all is in vain, life is a privilege.
Sinarth - Karl Levy
Writing this book entailed countless interviews and numerous journeys with Sinarth over three years visiting places from his past. The result is a story of Sinarth’s life as an emotional interpretation, from childhood through to adulthood. From this perspective, his perception of events was often in conflict with the historical reality. The recollections of these incidents are tempered by time, combined with the Buddhist approach Sinarth learned later in his life. This gave him the tools to evade overwhelming trauma, by remembering negative events as positive and skewing memories.
An important note is that many separate, though very similar, characters were involved in Sinarth’s life at different times over the forty years covered in this book. For the sake of brevity and through use of poetic licence, I have often combined several people into one character. Many incidents of violent battles, of love and genuine care, I have merged into single events. I have created metaphors for various emotional responses to real situations, inventing scenes at times to communicate those feelings. These aspects are woven together into a single tapestry to tell the story.
Hopefully, this book sheds light on Sinarth’s life’s journey and serves as a cautionary tale, that it could have been any one of us through happenstance placed in his situation. His story is representative of events experienced by many Cambodians, each story comparable, but every Cambodian completes a different journey.
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