Year of the Rabbit
Tian Veasna, Drawn & Quarterly
Tian Veasna was born in 1975, three days after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia. His parents had to leave the capital Phnom Penh to work in the fields and, until they moved to France in 1980, were at the mercy of a regime that sought to destroy traditional ideas of culture and society and quickly parlayed that into destroying people. The regime killed millions of its own citizens.
Veasna’s father was a doctor and so immediately suspect. He had to hide his identity as he and his family coped with the threat of informers and the real fear of starvation.
In Year of the Rabbit, Veasna lays out what it took to survive against that hellish backdrop. His cartooning has a scratchy simplicity to it perhaps because clarity is what is needed here. The result is full of horror and a small dash of hope.