On Necessary Disjointedness: The Pol Pot Period in Alice Pung's Memoirs

Patrick Allington

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper analyses the memoirs of Australian writer Alice Pung in the contexts of her suburban Melbourne upbringing, her parents’ status as refugees, and Cambodia’s Pol Pot period. The author discusses the changed way Pung deals with the Pol Pot period from Unpolished Gem (2006) to Her Father’s Daughter (2011), and in particular the necessary disjointedness that is a consequence of the latter memoir’s more direct and deep focus on Pung’s father’s experiences during the Pol Pot period. The author concludes by locating Pung’s works, particularly Her Father’s Daughter, among various other memoirs of the Pol Pot period, including poet U Sam Oeur’s memoir, Crossing Three Wildernesses (2005). Placed among other memoirs of survival and loss, the author suggests, Pung brings a distinctive perspective as the child of a survivor of the Pol Pot period.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)465-474
    Number of pages10
    JournalLife Writing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Cambodia
    • Khmer Rouge
    • Pung


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