In “Writing Trauma, Writing Life in Chanrithy Him's When Broken Glass Floats,” I discuss Him's autobiography within the context of recovery narratives, where survivors of traumatic events use writing as therapy and healing. In my exegesis of the text, I demonstrate how not just Him's memory but also the history and culture of Cambodia are reclaimed in this recovery narrative, with Him somewhat paradoxically infusing her memoir, a genre that goes against the grain of Cambodian literary tradition with its focus on the self, with elements of Cambodian culture, history, and poetic structure. The result, I argue, is a text that is neither traditional Cambodian literature nor typical American immigrant literature. I conclude the essay by locating this emergent literature within the recent global boom in witness narrative and, more specifically, within the emergent discourse of Southeast Asian American studies.

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