Three Flames (Hardcover)

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The stories of one Cambodian family are intricately braided together in Alan Lightman’s haunting Three Flames, his first work of fiction in six years.

Three Flames portrays the struggles of a Cambodian farming family against the extreme patriarchal attitudes of their society and the cruel and dictatorial father, set against a rural community that is slowly being exposed to the modern world and its values. A mother must fight against memories of her father’s death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, and her powerful desire for revenge. A daughter is married off at sixteen to a wandering husband and his domineering aunt; another daughter is sent to the city to work in the factories to settle her father’s gambling debt. A son dreams of marrying the most beautiful girl of the village and escaping the life of a farmer. And the youngest daughter bravely challenges her father so she can stay in school and strive for a better future.

A vivid story of revenge and forgiveness, of a culture smothering the dreams of freedom, and of tradition against courage, Three Flames grows directly from Lightman’s work as the founder of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance a new generation of female leaders in Cambodia and all of Southeast Asia.

Description


"Lightman's best book since Einstein's Dreams . . . a piercing story of social dissolution in damaged Cambodia . . . an important story of global women's rights." --Annie Proulx

The stories of one Cambodian family are intricately braided together in Alan Lightman's first work of fiction in seven years.

Three Flames portrays the struggles of a Cambodian farming family against the extreme patriarchal attitudes of their society and a cruel and dictatorial father, set in a rural community that is slowly being exposed to the modern world and its values. Ryna is a mother fighting against memories of her father's death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and her powerful desire for revenge. Daughter Nita is married off at sixteen to a wandering husband, while her sister Thida is sent to the city to work in the factories to settle their father's gambling debt. Kamal, the only son, dreams of marrying the most beautiful girl in the village and escaping the life of a farmer. Yet it will be up to Sreypov, the youngest, to bravely challenge her father and strive for a better future.

Three Flames is a vivid story of one family's yearning for freedom and of a young girl's courage to face down tradition.

"Lyrical and poignant, Three Flames weaves the stories of three generations of a poor, Cambodian farming family as they struggle to survive and hold on to their humanity . . . Beautifully written and told with great compassion, Alan Lightman's novel gives readers a family that is rich in stories, history, and heart, proving in the end that love shines even in the midst of great darkness." --Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father

About the Author


ALAN LIGHTMAN is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, as well as a memoir, three collections of essays, and several books on science. In 2003, Lightman founded the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help advance a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. He lives in the Boston area.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781640092280
ISBN-10: 1640092285
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Pages: 208
Language: English