Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Quirky but charming book on Angkor now on sale

Quirky but charming book on Angkor now on sale

Sophie Lizeray’s rendition of a lotus pond, of which she writes in the book: “This is the place to be for insects and aquatic animals. The pond provides them with shelter, food and perhaps some mating action.”
Sophie Lizeray’s rendition of a lotus pond, of which she writes in the book: “This is the place to be for insects and aquatic animals. The pond provides them with shelter, food and perhaps some mating action.”

Quirky but charming book on Angkor now on sale

Numerous weighty tomes have been published on Angkor Wat, but a new book, Wandering Angkor, takes the reader on a tour of the temples in an informative yet engaging fashion, complete with lighthearted asides and quirky cartoon style illustrations by author Sophie Lizeray.

Combining facts and humour, with a chatty accessible tone, Lizeray’s debut publication invites readers to hop on a little purple moto and join her, the guide, to “cruise through the bustling town of Siem Reap,” “bump through the forest” and “be awed by the majestic Bayon and Angkor Wat.”

French-Malaysian Lizeray, a Siem Reap-resident landscape architect and keen artist who has been visiting Cambodia since 1999, decided to produce the book after working on temple conservation at Angkor.

“I’m a landscape architect by training and I was working here a few years ago, so I had lots of opportunities to go visit the temples and draw them,” she says. “And when I left Cambodia I thought, why not use all the material that I have? I enjoy drawing, I enjoy writing, so I thought I’d compile it. It’s like a road trip to Angkor and you follow this little guide who’s fun and gives you some easy information on the temples.”

The slim book contains over 30 colourful illustrations, not only of the temples but the journey to reach them, from drawings of busy National Road 6 – complete with moto driver transporting two pigs on the back of his vehicle – to a close encounter with a buffalo, the guide skidding to a halt in front of it with the caption, “Buffalo crossing!” (Based on a real-life experience, Lizeray says).

The book is cartoon style says Lizeray, adding, “For this work I wanted to render it in very bold colours, so that’s why I chose a cartoon style, very freehand.

Wandering Angkor author and illustrator Sophie Lizeray.
Wandering Angkor author and illustrator Sophie Lizeray. Miranda Glasser

“It is really an invitation to travel through a couple of temples in Angkor and some interesting, easy-to-digest facts that come with it, without going into scholarly descriptions.

“It is as if the character’s talking to you, that type of language. The facts on the temples are definitely facts – my book was checked by an art historian because I wanted it to be accurate. I hope it is a fun, engaging read – that’s the intention.”

Some of the facts include tidbits like the information about laterite, a type of soil derived from weathered underlying rock, which forms not only many of Siem Reap’s unpaved roads but also some of the temples.

Lizeray writes, “But wait! Laterite is more than just dirt tracks. In ancient times, blocks of laterite were cut and sun dried for construction purposes. Such blocks, along with other materials such as bamboo, timber, bricks and sandstone, were used to build Angkor’s temples. Look out for their distinctive ochre colour during your visits… Makes you wonder… The temples of the gods are made from the same material as these dusty tracks!”

Lizeray, also a yoga teacher, is working on a quirky cartoon -style story of a yoga journey called, Oh My Yoga, that she publishes weekly on her website, http://fissosworld.com/.

Wandering Angkor is available on Amazon and at Monument Books in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

MOST VIEWED

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will

  • Chinese-owned shops are on the rise in central Phnom Penh

    Informal businesses owned by Chinese nationals are on the rise in central Phnom Penh, especially in Tonle Bassac commune, surrounding Koh Pich. Such businesses have sprung up notably in Central Market, Orussey Market, Sovanna Shopping Mall, Rattana Plaza, as well as Kakab commune across from

  • Breaking: Eighty-three containers of waste at S'ville port came from US, Canada

    The plastic waste found in 83 containers at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Tuesday came from the US and Canada, the Ministry of Environment has said. The huge shipment of rubbish weighs some 1,600 tonnes. Officials are continuing their investigation to find the company or individuals responsible for

  • ‘Long road for Cambodia bill to reach the White House’

    Analysts have questioned whether the “The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019” bill would be passed by the US Senate and finally signed off by the president after its approval by the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, on Monday. Introduced by Republican Representative for Florida Ted