When I was living in Cambodia from 2005 to 2009, the realization came to me that the story I wanted to tell was larger than me, than my own life. With Banyan, I wanted to pay homage to our humanity—that part of us that not only survives but triumphs. I saw this everywhere in Cambodia. I still see it every time I return. Despite living in the shadow of genocide, people there possess a lightness of spirit that’s absolutely inspiring.
by Evelyn Somers
What compels me is the resilience of human beings, period. As I’ve said before, all the most lasting fiction is about one thing: how we go on. Some writers tackle this in the context of war or poverty or tyranny; I tackle it through the intimate world of the family. We are all born into one, and most of us do our damnedest to form one. And, again, a certain innate voyeurism makes me want to “know everything” about the messiness of making families work—or the heartbreak and the struggle when they don’t.