LITTLE BROTHER by Allan Baillie


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Driven by a slim promise of safety plus the hope of finding his older brother Mang, 11-year-old orphan Muong Vithy makes his way across hundreds of miles of war-torn Cambodia to the Thai border, relying on his wits and the kindness of strangers to stay alive, evading the dreaded Khmer Rouge, and finding at last a chance for a new life in a distant country. Having passed through modern Phnom Penh and ancient Angkor Wat and finding both equally haunted, Vithy reaches Thailand. There, he meets Betty Harris, an Australian doctor, and begins to search for his brother, the last member of his family seen alive. Finally giving Mang up for dead, Vithy agrees to go with Harris to Australia--where he joyfully finds his brother awaiting him at the Sydney airport. The atrocities and privations that make Wartski's Boat to Nowhere (1980) and other refugee stories so searing are kept offstage here; this is a milder narrative (with something of a fairy-tale ending), but Baillie keeps the plot moving and his characters are deftly drawn and believable.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Viking