California State University, Long Beach
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Author of the Month

Reflections of a Khmer Soul

Navy Phim, Enrollment Services

Book cover art

As reviewed by CSU Dominguez Hills' associate professor of Anthropology and CSULB alumna Susan Needham, in Reflections of a Khmer Soul Navy Phim explores what it means to be a child of the “Killing Fields” raised in the United States. In the 30 years since the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia, many personal narratives of that horrific period have been written, but Navy offers a new point of view on this tragic story. Hers is the story of the middle generation growing up with, and trying to make sense of, two cultures and two worlds – the beauty and tragedy of her Cambodian past (her Khmer soul) and the comfortable restlessness of her American present. Through stories, memories, and “snippets,” Phim shares her life journey from her birth place in Battambang, Cambodia to Kao-I-Dang refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border, to a refugee processing center in the Philippines, to Long Beach, home to the largest population of Cambodians outside Cambodia. Told from the perspective of a seasoned world traveler, this book offers a unique perspective on both Cambodian and American cultures and history.