Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Phnom Penh and the Southern Provinces, fresh from the first print-run tonight and its an absolute gem for temple-enthusiasts like myself. 266 pages, packed full of well-researched text and 236 photos, drawings or maps. It's a treasure trove of detail - the biggest drawback being that it's all in the French language, which I am even worse at than the Khmer language. Tomorrow night, Bruno will give a presentation about the book and his research work on the temples of Cambodia at the French Cultural Center at 6.30pm, in French and Khmer, and the book will be on sale, published by Reyum, for the first time. Co-authored with Juliette Lacroix, it will retail at around $15. He's already penned another five manuscripts for the remainder of the temples in Cambodia and is looking for funding to publish all of his works, even better would be to get them published in English too, and considerably open up the audience for his books. Working for EFEO has given Bruno access to a wealth of historical research, photographs and maps and he uses them wisely in his new book to provide a 'must have' tome for any self-respecting temple-hunter, even if they can't read or speak French like me. I had dinner with Bruno at Comme a la Maison tonight, accompanied by an old friend of mine, Cristiano, a fellow temple-hunter from Kompong Thom and two members of a French television film crew who are following Bruno in his work as part of a documentary on French-influenced cultural sites in SEAsia. If I was ever to throw a dinner party then Bruno and Cristiano would be on my guest-list - I could talk about Khmer temples all night long! Fortunately tonight, my fellow diners did me the honour of conducting most of the conversation in English.
An impression of a cave temple at Phnom Khyang by Henri Parmentier, from the EFEO archives dated 1927. I visited this cave temple just a few weeks ago.