‘Breakfast in Cambodia’ (Kismuth Books // 2016)
Kismuth Books‘ Breakfast in Cambodia is by author Dipika Kohli(TEDx, NPR). Breakfast is the first of a new series, The Village Report, which chronicles the true story of abandoning a way of life and a set of ideals for ‘how things should be done.’The Village Report started as a monthly column for two US publications from 2013-2015, both in places where Kohli has ties. (Saathee in North Carolina, and the Northwest Asian Weekly in Seattle). Breakfast is a true story of disconnecting from life in a rich, Western country for one year on ‘the road’ in south and southeast Asia. Of landing in Phnom Penh, and reinventing a sense of self.
‘One of the things that I hope this book will do is show a brighter, more warm side of Cambodia than is usually portrayed through a Western lens,’ says Kohli. ‘This has been one of the most exciting places I’ve ever seen, rich in juxtapositions and open with its anything-can-happen personality. I love Phnom Penh, and I want to show, as best I can and as respectfully of the local people that I might, what two and a half years observing and taking notes, quietly and from the margins, has taught me.’ What solitude, time, distance and quiet space can teach us about our innermost selves is the heart of this story, she says. ‘I really think this next thing,’ says Kohli. ‘I believe this. That in our modern world, the village is one to which we all belong—as humanity. There is a quiet, strong, ancient village that dates back centuries. It’s ours. It’s beautiful. And it belongs to all of us.’