Surviving Year Zero is the story of one young man, yet it is the story of millions of people. It tells of how Sovannora Ieng lived through the genocide that tore at the heart of Cambodia in the 1970s.
Sovannora survived in an environment where survival was barely possible. He and his family experienced starvation, backbreaking labour and constant surveillance. They learnt to be silent in a world where a casual remark could be turned into a sentence of death.
Sovannora’s experiences under the Khmer Rouge remind us of the terrible things that we humans have done to each other, and his eventual escape is a testament to his resilience and ingenuity in the face of constant danger.
He told his story to Greg Hill, who wrote this compelling and even joyous account of survival against the odds.