“Each morning, I carry my pot of coffee on a silver tray up three flights of stairs. I re-arrange the wicker furniture to my liking, then I pour small puddles of water around the legs of my chair and table to prevent the battalions of ants from attacking. Morning rises over the river, legions of fishing boats push out, but, far from being serene and tranquil, my rooftop gathers the cacophony and bustle of Kampot town: ice vendors, gas delivery trucks, chattering birds, the hammering and drilling from the construction site next door… Sometimes, when I’m working, every sound fades away and I hear nothing but the story I’m writing. The coffee grows cold, worlds fade into and out of each other…At midday, when the hammering ceases and the construction workers lay down their tools, I, too, cease my writing.”

Read more of Madeleine Thien’s description of one of her writing rooms in the town of Kampot, on the southern shore of Cambodia.

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