Fiction in French or English about Cambodia is rare. When you meet it, more often than not, it’s full of lame exoticism and neo-colonialist good sentiments.
This novella on last week’s New Yorker is well-written, gripping, realist and understanding : Swimming, by T Cooper. The guy (?) has obviously gone there, grasped a thing or two, but managed to avoid the miserabilist view. Recommended.
I had to get my swim in. My daily swim that I paid good money at a good exchange rate to insure.
She looked at me with those full eyes, the kind that peek out of the tourist brochures for Southeast Asian cruises that stop in seven countries in seven days. I wanted to see hatred in those eyes, but all I saw was my own reflection.
« I had a son, » I said then.
« You have son? » she asked.
« Yes, » I said, looking across the street, over the Kampot River and up at Bokor Mountain. Fog was hanging from the places where the jungle protruded from the dark-green mountain. « I killed him, though. »