Life in Fragments


One woman's heart-breaking, life-affirming memoir of loss, survival, bearing witness and a legacy of love

'Landbridge has forever altered what I know, how I love, and what I hope' Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

'A masterpiece to console and guide generations to come' Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem

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 the place she had escaped.

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 delves into the 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 a courageous piece of life writing, the story of a family, and a bold, ground-breaking intervention in the way trauma and migration are told.


  • Y-Dang Troeung's presence feels so alive in these pages, where wonder and sorrow, motherhood and history trace one another across time, and unspool the shape of our present. Landbridge has forever altered what I know, how I love, and what I hope
    Madeleine Thien, author, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

About the author

Y-Dang Troeung

Y-Dang Troeung was a deeply loved mother, researcher, writer, and Assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. Her first book, Refugee Lifeworlds: The Afterlife of the Cold War in Cambodia, explored the enduring impact of war, genocide and displacement. She co-directed the short film Easter Epic and organized the exhibition Remembering Cambodian Border Camps, 40 Years Later at Phnom Penh's Bophana Center; ; and co-edited a special issue of Canadian Literature on 'Refugee Worldmaking'. She died of pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-two.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more