Reunion

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“Reunion” is by Christopher G. Moore: first published in 20102 in the anthology Phnom Penh Noir, available at Monument Books, and now available as a stand-alone paperback with the cover you see here. On Kindle it costs $2.99 for the equivalent of forty pages. And I’m selling shorts that are twice as long for 99 cents – one of us has his pricing wrong.

DESCRIPTION (from Amazon)

An American war correspondent, Tony Collins, and a former Khmer Rouge child soldier, Sam Rith, reunite after nearly thirty years. Tony helped the world-weary 15-year-old Sam start a new life in the United States.

Sam Rith arrived in America, sponsored by Christian couple. But Sam took more than a few wrong turns and ended up spending most of his youth locked up in an American prison before being deported back to Cambodia.

Back again in Cambodia and totally without family and friends, Sam found ways to do what he had always done best—survive. Reconnecting with ‘old friends’—Tony Collins and the Khmer Rouge cadre who’d made him eat a human heart—Sam opened a new chapter of his life working as a translator at the war crime tribunal. He translated the old horrors of wars, truths and lies for the international press.

Reunion tells an unsentimental, powerfully evocative story of friendship, desperation, hope and deception that are part of life. A memorable reunion of two men seeking redemption and finding that the past never dies. In post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Reunion explores friendship and survival, and how peace and justice remain unfinished business.

REVIEW

Christopher Moore goes for the big themes – in this case it’s justice, redemption, retribution, peace, and how they all fit together. And also the role of the Khmer Rouge trials in the reinvention of Cambodia: “When a whole society has been telling each other lies for years, no court can clear the air until the truth comes out.”

VERDICT

Reunion is a finalist for the 2013 Arthur Ellis Awards for best novella. (What you don’t need to know: Arthur Ellis is the official pseudonym of the hangman in Canada, or was when the Canadians still hanged people; the Arthur Ellis Awards are not, as you might expect, the hangman’s version of the Academy Awards, but are given instead for excellence in crime fiction. The award statue is wooden model of a hanging man; the arms and legs move when you pull the string. No home should be without one).

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