sophat

The latest addition to my website is Rim Kin‘s សូផាត (Sophat), the first Cambodian novel published. It is a straightforward novel of love and loss. Sophat is born to an orphan woman, Soya, and her lover, the rich official, Suon. Suon abandons Soya when given an opportunity to return to Phnom Penh and while she is five months pregnant. He makes no further contact. Soya, on learning of his subsquent marrige to someone else, collapses and dies. Sophat is brought up an orphan and then transferred to a monastery. When he is twelve, he sets out for Phnom Penh to find his father and ends up in the household of the rich official, Athipadey Séna. He meets Athipadey Séna’s niece, Man Yan, and the pair fall in love but because of a misunderstanding, he leaves. The two are reunited, separated, reunited and again separated, with Kin leaving us guessing whether they will ever manage to stay together and whether Sophat will find his father. It is a simple novel but well done for a country’s first novel. Sadly, it is only available in French translation, not in English.