A political thriller set in 1950s Cambodia with echoes of Graham Greene and James Ellroy.
Cambodia, 1955. The country is on the brink of a major change, with the first democratic elections just around the corner. In the midst of the frenzy, we meet Sar-a quiet, likeable man in his early thirties who is campaigning for the opposition, but secretly working for an armed Communist takeover. Many years later, he will become known to the world as Pol Pot.
Now, Sar is thinking about Somaly, the woman he is engaged to be married to and wants to build a life with. The outcome of the election will determine whether they have a future together. With his personal and political life at stake, Sar has everything to lose when his political rival, vice premier Sary, also notices the beautiful Somaly, and takes up the struggle for her affection. And of course Somaly – young, bored, beautiful-has an agenda of her own.
Over the course of thirty days, and against the backdrop of political power games, a love triangle unfolds in the sweltering summer heat, in an atmosphere tense with ambition.
“Beautifully evocative….must-read novel.” Daily Mail
‘It’s rare to come across such a confident debut novel… [an] exceptional, vibrant and tense piece of historical fiction.’ The Lady (five star review)
‘I wonder if I’ve ever read a debut novel as good … as in the fiction of Marguerite Duras and Graham Greene the tension between Power and Eros is hard as steel in [this] brilliant novel.’ SR Kulturnytt
This is in the James Ellroy and Mario Vargas Llosa department! Peter Fröberg Idling’s political thriller is the same kind of feverish sweat-stained fiction/non-fiction … a fully developed piece and cannot but be one of the finest literary debuts in decades, at least.’ Boras Tidning
‘An exquisite portrayal of complex emotion, of how people are shaped and coerced by their context. Overwhelming.’ Arbetarbladet
Peter Fröberg Idling, born in 1972, is a writer and journalist. His first book, Pol Pot’s Smile (2006) was a critically acclaimed work of literary nonfiction published in eight languages. He trained as a lawyer, and was working as legal advisor to an aid organization in Cambodia when the idea for his first book came about. His long anticipated first novel is also set in Cambodia, but like the debut, blurs fact and fiction in order to tell a truly remarkable story.