First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (Tantor)

Loung Ung was 5 years old in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The next four years were a desperate struggle to survive starvation, labor camps, and the loss of both parents. Ung relates her experience in the present tense, and Tavia Gilbert takes us on that journey with a superb performance that includes a myriad of emotions—from audible crying to fear and anger. This is a human story that takes place within the genocidal context of two million deaths, and it illustrates both the sheer brutality of mankind and the individual will to survive. Gilbert may be an unusual choice for narrating the memoir of a Cambodian. She cannot deliver a Khmer voice, but she certainly captures the emotional experience. AudioFile