Y-Dang Troeung



Life in Fragments


Born in, and named after, Thailand's Khao-I-Dang refugee camp, Y-Dang Troeung was - aged one - the last of 60,000 Cambodian refugees admitted to Canada, fleeing her homeland in the aftermath of Pol Pot's brutal Khmer Rouge regime. In Canada, Y-Dang became a literal poster child for the benevolence of the Canadian refugee project - and, implicitly, the unknowable horrors of Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia.

In Landbridge, a family and personal memoir of astonishing power, Y-Dang grapples with a life lived in the shadow of pre-constructed narratives. She considers the transactional relationship between a host country and its refugees; she unpicks the demand for 'testimony' and the conflicting demand for disinterested academic rigour; she delves into the necessary contradictions between ethnic, regional and national identities; and she writes to her young son Kai with the promise that this family legacy is passed down with love at its core.

Written in fragmentary chapters, each with the vivid light of a single candle in a pitch-black room, Landbridge is both a courageous piece of life writing and a bold, ground-breaking intervention in the way trauma and migration are recorded.