Little, Brown non-fiction imprint Robinson has bought a “moving and insightful” account of a daughter’s search for her missing father in the ‘Killing Fields’ of Cambodia.
When the Clouds Fell from the Sky is by Robert Carmichael, former editor of the Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s oldest English language newspaper, and will be published in autumn 2019.
The book tells the story of Ouk Ket, a young Cambodian diplomat in Paris who is recalled to Cambodia in 1977 leaving behind his wife and daughter in France whom he expects to join him shortly. He never sees them again. Carmichael recounts how his wife and daughter search for him, and uses their moving experience to tell the tragic story of Cambodia and of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge and the notorious S-21 prison where thousands died with more than a million people killed in the sites of the Cambodian 'Killing Fields'.
Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director of Robinson, concluded the deal for world rights, including film and TV, directly with the author. He said: “I am delighted to be publishing this remarkable book which deserves far wider exposure than it has enjoyed to date. Through the tragic story of a single family, very movingly told, Carmichael extrapolates skilfully to the tragedy of Cambodia as a whole, also exploring more generally the inherent nature of regimes of terror and questions of guilt and responsibility, international justice and the challenges of rehabilitation and reconciliation.”
Carmichael said: ‘I am excited that Little, Brown has decided to publish When the Clouds Fell from the Sky, particularly because it means that this aspect of Cambodia’s terrible recent history – the rule of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, and the much more recent war crimes trials of a few of the surviving Khmer Rouge perpetrators – will be available to a wider audience. That’s important to me, because I’ve always believed that what happened in Cambodia has profound lessons for humanity, not least in teaching us about the malevolence and menace of authoritarianism and totalitarianism, both of which are still with us.”