Instruments of Memory

The New York Times Book Review

MUSIC OF THE GHOSTS
By Vaddey Ratner
324 pp. Touchstone. $26.

Vaddey Ratner calls each of the three parts of her tenaciously melodic second novel a movement. And indeed this story of an orphaned Cambodian refugee’s return to her homeland does have a symphony’s elevating effect on emotion. Ratner stirs feeling — sorrow, sympathy, pleasure — through language so ethereal in the face of dislocation and loss that its beauty can only be described as stubborn.

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