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Breakfast in Cambodia (Kismuth / 2015)

Breakfast in Cambodia (Kismuth / 2015)

Breakfast-in-Cambodia

AFTER THE STORY ENDS you think you have a way to talk about what happened. The good stuff, the road, the sharing, the journey. You try to do this in a way that’s cohesive and consistent. You put things into 750-word columns for someone somewhere on the other side of the world, whom you hope will enjoy it. You want to know if someone is reading, and engaging, and every so often you will get a tiny note that says something like, “I clip your essay every month,” and it makes you think, Keep going.

One of the things I hope this book will do is show a brighter, more warm side of Cambodia than is usually portrayed through a Western lens. 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. The Village Report started as a monthly column for two US publications from 2013-2015, Saathee in North Carolina, and Northwest Asian Weekly in Seattle.

Breakfast in Cambodia 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. What solitude, time, distance and quiet space can teach us about our innermost selves is the heart of this story, to me. I really think this next thing. 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.

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‘What comes through the most is the personality of the author and truly feeling her perspective as she goes through this collage of beautiful and heartwarming(-breaking) incidents. The somewhat conversational style and the painterly touches of language really enrich what is already a non-traditional story of this type. The artistry of the language is matched only by the truthfulness to the emotional journey the author has been through.

‘If you’re a fan of good travel writing, poetic prose, and personal essays/memoir of the type where the aesthetics of a scene are just as important as its recitation of events and their details, then you’ll love this book. Like me you’ll find yourself wishing to visit Ireland, India, and Japan all at once, if only to see your familiar spaces in a new light when you return home. I’m really looking forward to the next one!’

–Tim S., on The Elopement, at the book’s Kindle page. Kismuth no longer uses Amazon for social conscious purposes.

‘‘Dipika is a[n] author who clearly has been writing for years. Her ability to illustrate a particular moment, object, or emotion is amazing. Her writing style is different than what I am accustomed to reading. Its almost poetic. As the reader you can expect to gain insight into the mind, heart and soul of a Woman who lives life passionately and purposely. Also, Dipika does a nice job at outlining the good and not so pretty reality of what it means to defy cultural norms.”

—Anonymous, on the book’s old Kindle page. No longer using Kindle for social conscious purposes.