“Hard Love” Story – Interview with VOA Cambodia

Soksreinith Ten (call her Nith, she told me) , a reporter with Voice of America just interviewed me for their English and Khmer News Service about Either the Beginning or the End of the World. She asked, in a few words tell me what your novel is about. I said it’s about a mother and daughter. They love each other but they can’t tolerate each other easily. “I thought by 16 I’d be over her,” my character says. The mom is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime. Then Nith and I had this extraordinary conversation about her mom, also a survivor, and they have the same “hard love” as I write about. I was greatly relieved and honored that Nith found the story honest and true.

Nith  wants to tell her mom’s story; her mom has never talked about the war, “the tears just pour out,” the young reporter said. She sent me a poem she wrote about her mom.  

Our  trailer for Either the Beginning or the End, created by Kornnita Chen, Sophia Sturtuvant,  Fred Okot Ben, James Muller and Kirsten Cappy  with music by Bochan is linked to in the Khmer edition of Nith’s story and was played for 15 million Cambodians.   Here’s the Khmer Edition.

Here’s a link to the English Edition.  The world, again, seems very small.

 

 

Refugee Stories

Soksreinith Ten, a reporter with Voice of America News, just interviewed me for their English and Khmer News Service. She asked, in a few words what is your novel about? I said it’s about a mother and daughter. They love each other but they can’t tolerate each other. “I thought by 16 I’d be over her,” my character says. The mom is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime. Then the reporter and I had this extraordinary conversation about her mom, also a survivor, and they have the same “hard love” as I write about.  She wants to tell her mom’s story; her mom has never talked about the war, “the tears just pour out,” the young reporter said.  She sent me a poem she wrote about her mom. I think one day she’ll write the book she wants to write. Image by image, I told her. Poem by poem.   I wanted to post this trailer about the fictional  daughter of a survivor in the novel we were talking about, Either the Beginning or the End of the World.  Kornnita Chen, Sophia Sturtuvant, Fred Okot Ben, Kirsten Cappy creators of the trailer, thank you.

 

Either the Beginning or the End of the World

Beg or the End

A Cambodian-American girl, a soldier returned from war, and extraordinary acts love can demand…

Here is a guide for curriculum connections and discussion: Either-the-Beginning-or the End of the World Discussion Guide

 Reviews

 *  “Farish’s writing is haunting. Beautifully written and briskly paced… An excellent choice for readers seeking a less than neatly packaged love story or a glimpse into the complicated  lineage of war-torn areas.”        * Starred Review,  School Library Journal

“A bittersweet love story between a fisherman’s teenage daughter and a soldier returned from Afghanistan…”  Either the Beginning or the End of the World “…examines the intersections of love and war in a family’s history.” ALA-Booklist

“Sixteen-year old Sofie is her daddy’s girl, having weathered real and metaphorical storms with him as he tries to make a living as a New Hampshire fisherman. [Either the Beginning or the End of the World offers] sophisticated literary prose and a narrative where love is as strong and complex as the many forces that work against it.”Recommended, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“By learning the intricacies of human suffering, Sofie undergoes an empathetic awakening. Farish writes the first-person narration in unadorned prose, focusing on raw emotions and the details of the frigid wintertime setting.” The Horn Book

“Terry Farish’s stories about refugees and immigrants have been informed by her extensive work with the Red Cross in Vietnam, and you can feel that raw, authentic care given to her characters in Either the Beginning or the End of the World. It’s a love story, but it’s also a story of generations of a family, each affected by war and loss in their own ways.”   Bustle

“I found that this story reminded me a lot of Taylor Swift’s song “Mine”; both Sofie and Luke, the man that she falls in love with, seem hesitant about their feelings because of their pasts, but really enjoy one another’s presence and try to ignore all future troubles when they’re together.” Teenreads

“Either the Beginning or the End of the World is a beautiful, hopeful book.” The Pirate Tree, Social Justice and Children’s Literature