When Anne's lover Serey decides to return to his war torn country she goes after him. Anne can't remember her mother who died when she was a toddler. Raised by her conservative Dutch father in Montreal she falls in love at sixteen with a musician five years her senior. Serey is a math tutor in Canada on leave from war torn Cambodia. He works at the university where Anne's Latin tutor Charlotte attends classes. Anne loves hanging out a blues spots with Charlotte and her friends. She is rarely turned away even though alcohol is served. She's there for the music and the vibes.
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Anne's former Nanny Berethe turned her on to blues greats at a young age. Serey needs the music to help him get through the days. He doesn't know if his family is dead or alive and all communication has been cut off in his village.
Anne's father thinks Serey is too o! ld for Anne and that she is ruining her life. She rebels spending as much time with Serey as possible. She loses her virginity and is deeply in love. Serey teaches her Kapur his native and tongue and she is smitten with him on every angle. He loves her because of her fierce independence.
When communication lies are reopened in Cambodia he tells Anne he is going home the very next day. He has to find out if his family is alive. She begs to go with him and he refuses. He doesn't know if the family home is still standing or what he will find.
Ann is crushed when he takes off. There is no word for eleven years. To Anne's knowledge even though she is still deep in love Serey doesn't write or call. She takes a few lovers over the years but dedicates her all to no one else.
She decides she is going to find her man and leaves for Cambodia against her father's wishes. His complaints fall on deaf ears. She would not be like her mother who settled for her P! apa a professor who only lived to work and ignored his wife once home.
She arrives in Cambodia to find Serey's village tore up from the floor up. Literally, crippled children and adults begging for food most of which has been poisoned by the pollution of dead bodies.
Anne hires a driver to take her to every bar until she finds Serey. He can't believe it when he lays eyes on her. She moves in with him and finds that he is emotionally distraught over what has happened in his country and village. His parents were killed in the genocide. Although his younger brother survived he was kidnapped by soldiers and made to do their dirty work at the age of ten. Now a young man killing and torture is all he knows. He hates Serey for leaving him behind and musicians are on the black listed roster of the government. This causes Serey much concern.
Anne befriends others and goes where she wants, a white woman in a foreign land with American dollars. Her money makes her a rich woman among the downtrodden.
She's carrying h! is child by this time and wants her baby to know its father. His singing, his tenderness, and world views she wants it all for their small family. Not long before Anne is due to deliver she catches a virus and she is very ill. En route to a doctor which is several miles away she knows something is wrong. The doctor delivers her still born daughter. She takes it hard as does Serey, Anne had so wanted something that would belong to the two of them alone. She even writes her father and tells him he is going to be a grandfather.
When Serey is kidnapped by the government they have been keeping tabs on both of them. Again, Anne sets out to find her guy.. Each of the men she has befriended tells her to back off before she is killed. She cannot until she know Serey is dead she will not rest.
Anne is rested and thrown in a cell with rats. They don't kill her but they scare her to death. She tells them that if she isn't released the government in Montreal will ge! t involved (doubtful), but what did she have to lose?
She finally learns that Serey had been killed after being held in the same prison. She wants proof that it is him. She bribes a guard to give her information and is lead to a dead lake that used to be full of life. She looks down but can only see death. A skull is pulled up and Anne knows it belongs to Serey. She wants to keep it but a soldier knocks it out of her hands and back into the contaminated water.
Anne is placed on a plane by the government and told to never return. Why would she? Her man was gone.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that when Anne loved she loved with all her heart.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Anne found Serey's skull.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Anne was not a quitter. She was a ride or die chick for love.