The Embassy of Cambodia 1
- Contemporary fiction
- Publication Date:
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Country of origin:
- United Kingdom
- Dimensions (mm):
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his little tale leaves the reader wanting more
The Embassy of Cambodia is a short story by British author, Zadie Smith. Fatou’s passage out of Ivory Coast, via Ghana and Libya, included a sojourn in Italy before she landed a job with the Derewals in NW London. While they withhold her passport and her wages, and she is certainly is not well treated, her not-quite-slavery does allow her a certain amount of freedom.
The Derewals live in Willesden, and her freedom includes being able to attend church with her friend Andrew Okonkwo on Sundays, and going swimming on Mondays. Her trip to the pool, undertaken without her employers’ knowledge, takes her past the Embassy of Cambodia, where a game of badminton is always in progress. And then, one tiny incident changes everything for Fatou.
In twenty-one very short chapters, the narrative from Fatou’s perspective is interspersed with commentary by an anonymous Willesden resident. Within her succinct prose, Smith touches on issues topical and timeless: cruelty and inequality, the plight of refugees, prosperity and poverty, dependence and independence. This little tale leaves the reader wanting more.