The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Rent Collector

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secre...

Details The Rent Collector

TitleThe Rent Collector
Release DateSep 1st, 2012
PublisherShadow Mountain
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Book Club, Adult Fiction

Reviews The Rent Collector

  • Kristy Robertson
    I honestly do not know if I will finish this book. The premise is really intriguing, but the voice of the character is so out of place it is distracting. The main character speaks like a sassy,educated, middle-aged soccer mom from suburbia, not a destitute woman who has grown up and lived her life in the dumps of Cambodia. I am a bit mystified by the rave reviews this book has gotten.
  • Mary
    The voice/tone of this book was so WRONG. I felt like I was reading the words of an outsider, somebody trying to Americanize what should have been a Cambodian story. The whole experience felt inauthentic. (view spoiler)[At the very end when Sang Ly gives her speech to the assembled masses, I was so disappointed in her "fable." For most of the people there, it would have meant nothing. They would not have been like, "Oh, so she was a good person a...
  • Snotchocheez
    Each time I'd see this at the library I'd kinda wince a little, after realizing the cover art and photos in the back of this novel are all pictures taken by the author's son from a documentary he filmed. It's like, I just couldn't bring myself to read an author's fictional work that he himself hadn't felt secure enough with his own words not to embellish them with real photos. My interest, though, in Cambodia, (strengthened a few decades back by ...
  • Barbara Deer
    Simply put, this book is a jewel. Another reviewer described it as "cleansing", and I completely agree.Camron Wright lists Yann Martel's The Life of Pi as one of his favorites (and I like that Wright says he's not smart enough to be a literature snob, heh), and the style is similar, the prose elegant and simple.The book is fiction, but inspired by Wright's son's time in Cambodia filming a documentary. I am, somewhat to my own dismay, only cursori...
  • Liz
    I remember reading a review of this book and thinking it sounded fascinating. But for some reason, it just fell flat for me. While I could feel sympathy for the characters, I couldn't connect with them. They seemed less than three dimensional. Sang Ly dreams of learning to read. She believes being able to read will help her family move up from the dump and her son will be able to get healthy. Sopeap, the rent collector of the title, is a drunk. F...
  • Marie
    I really enjoyed the quotes from literature incorporated into the story. I enjoyed the historical piece, learning about the Khmer Rouge revolution and the genocide that occurred. I also appreciated the friendship between Sang Ly and Sopeap. It was interesting to see Sang Ly see the world differently through literature.However, I did not feel like the representation of the people living at the dump was accurate or believably portrayed. I felt that...
  • Joseph Spuckler
    The Rent Collector is a novel inspired on a documentary The River of Victory, the largest dump in Cambodia called Strung Meanchey. The story follows the lives of Sang Ly; wife and mother, Ki Lim; husband and father, Nisay;the sickly child, and Sopeap Sin, the Rent Collector. Sang and Ki struggle to make a life as “pickers” in the dump community. Sopeap is the mean, drunk, rent collector with more than one secret. The story really begins when ...
  • Kathy
    Enter to win a copy on my blog:http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot....Fabulous! Absolutely wonderful. This is one of my favorite reads this year.I chose The Rent Collector as my pick for my local book group. Every single person who read it loved it. That hasn't happened before at book group. If you are part of a book group this should definitely make your list of books to read. I had 2 copies of this book. One is literally falling apart because ...
  • Casey
    I gave this book four stars not because it was a fun and entertaining read, though it was entertaining; rather, I gave this book four stars because of the lessons on literature Camron Wright taught me using Sopeap Sin and Sang Ly. I think one of the most apt descriptions of literature is found in chapter eight on page 57, and it says: "To understand literature, you read it with your head, but you interpret it with your heart. The two are forced t...
  • Rachelle
    When I received this book in the mail, I stared at the cover for several minutes trying to wrap my brain around the truth behind this fictionalized account of Sang Ly's life.My nine-year-old daughter saw the cover of the book and I explained to her that it was a large dump where people put all of their garbage and that those shacks were houses where people lived. It was very hard for her to comprehend what I was telling her.Why would they live in...
  • Jennifer Hughes
    2.5 starsI know most of my friends will disagree with my rating, but I have to give my honest review. And if you have a happy experience reading this book, I am truly glad for you. I thought the book had a lot of great things going for it, but in the end, it didn't win me over.I think the best parts of the book were the pictures and the factual details of life in a garbage dump. I was simultaneously horrified and entranced by these poor character...
  • Lynne
    A beautiful story about love and war and literature and healing. So thought-provoking! Wonderful book club selection!!! Highly recommend this book to all my Goodreads friends!
  • Kerstin
    "I have been quiet today because fear in my heart has been fighting with frustration in my brain, leaving little energy for my mouth. Halfway through the day, my brain declared itself the winner and started to work out a plan. Grandfather loved luck, but I am tired and can no longer wait around for its arrival." pg. 26"And then I realize I must be dreaming. I bite my lip -- it hurts. I glance around the room -- it's our home at the dump. surely, ...
  • Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
    4.5/5 stars! Wowza! This book was fabulous! It's poetry! Based on the true story of Ki Lim and Sang Ly who live with their sickly son, Nisay, in a municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Life is a daily struggle as they collect trash to trade for money so they can eat barely enough food and pay rent to their cranky rent collector. The dump is a dangerous place with the danger of gangs, combustible piles of trash, and the big dump trucks who don't care ...
  • LeeAnn
    Oh my. At first I did not like this book and almost put it down. Something, however, pushed me on, and I'm glad it did. I just finished this deeply moving, heartfelt book. Did I like the book? Sometimes. Did I like the writing? Sometimes it startled and distracted me. But overall I think the net effect was to make me think--that's what this author does best. He doesn't intend to make us content but to make us think, but maybe that is how we truly...
  • Lori
    I would like to read a book about life in Cambodia. A different book. One that doesn't sound American.
  • Carrie
    It is simply AMAZING!!! One of my top favorite books of all time. Considering how many books that I have read in my lifetime, that should convey how much I love this book! This is a gripping story that filled me with gratitude for my many blessings as I began to read of the struggles in Cambodia. Then, as the story progresses I am filled with a sense of wonder at the hope and determination of the women who survive at Stung Meanchey, the largest w...
  • Natalie
    This book was a frustrating read for me. I thought the setting of living in a Cambodian dump was an interesting premise, particularly after reading (and loving) the book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers." Unfortunately, this story felt incredibly unrealistic. The protagonist (as has been noted by other readers) definitely sounded like a middle class white woman. The line where she basically said, "I have been told that university students study gar...
  • Emily
    Loved...LOVED this book. One of my all-time favorites for sure. I loved her characters, and I was shocked to read that her characters are from her son's documentary about this very dump. Even though the author did a great job describing the conditions there, I was still blown over to see the photo's at the end showing just how the people would dig in the trash ~ and to actually SEE the mountains made it "real" for me. It is incredible that even t...
  • Cheryl
    This beautifully written, poignant, and unforgettable novel is a story of perseverance and hope amidst the squalor and filth of the dump outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With it’s lovable characters and real sense of place, the author, Cameron Wright, shows that kindness and dignity can still be found in the harshest of places. I would give this novel ten stars if I could.
  • Morgan Donor
    I had to read this book as a summer reading assignment for school; and at first, I really did try to make myself like it (I've actually waited to digest this book for a month to see maybe if my feelings towards it would change -- they didn't). Although I didn't find too many issues with Camron Wright's writing itself, I found he is in no position to write a book and voice people of poverty -- particularly women -- as a cis, straight, white, mormo...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 It is hard to believe that families live on the edge of the largest trash heap in Cambodia, in shacks that have as doors only tarp. They also have to pay rent for this dubious privilege, and are evicted if they cannot. Their job is to collect recyclables or other worthy garbage and exchange this for money. Sang Ly is one such character, living in this situation with her sick son and husband. Her dream is to get her family out of there, to a b...
  • Carole
    I wasn't sure I would be able to enjoy this book based on the fact I knew it was about a family living in a Cambodian dump. After reading the 1st chapter, I googled Stung Meanchey, & it broke my heart to see pictures of people living in those conditions. I was so inspired by this deeply moving novel, and the hope which it brought. It is quite the opposite of depressing, it is a beautiful story of hope, & the gift of literacy. I would give it 4.5 ...
  • Nancy
    The Rent Collector belongs to many genres. The story gives the reader a basic history of Cambodia and life under the dictatorship of Pol Pot. What the reader needs to know is that Cambodia has been a country void of hope and joy for a very long time. When the Khmer Rouge declared victory, the country welcomed the end of civil war, not understanding the cost of peace. Although the book does not mention it, Pol Pot is viewed by many to be the Cambo...
  • Melissa
    I thought this book was really interesting. I didn't realize it was based on real people, even though some aspects were fictional. I kept forgetting it was written by a man, as Camron Wright really got into Sang Ly's head and gave her a strong voice. I learned a lot about life in Cambodia, and it was nice to have the pictures available at the end, as well as some background into the inspiration for the story. The only thing that didn't work for m...
  • Melanie
    I've been wanting to read The Rent Collector for a while and was excited that it was our book club choice this month as well. Once I started reading it, it was hard to put down. Sang Ly and her husband, Ki Lim, are just trying to survive day-to-day by collecting enough recyclables to pay for food and rent. Their young son, Nisay, is ill and Sang Ly is frustrated because he's fine while on medicine, but gets sick again when it runs out and they do...
  • Beth
    I loved this book and recommend it for pretty much anyone who appreciates the power of stories. This tale of beauty and hope takes place in one of the dirtiest places in the world--a municipal dump in Cambodia where people actually live and scavenge to earn enough to get by. Sang Ly worries about having enough to pay the rent, her family's safety, and her son's unexplained illness. Life changes for Sang Ly and her family when she learns there is ...
  • David Joseph Mikels
    This was a good book. it show me a view of what life in Cambodia would have been like, I all around enjoyed it
  • Cynthia
    This book really exceeded my expectations. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars. The book is about Sang Li and her husband Kim Lim who live in a municipal dump in Cambodia together with their young son, Nisay. They scrape together a living by combing the garbage dump for recyclables and other reusable items that other, more well-to-do, people have thrown out. Even amongst such despicable living conditions they still have rent to pay, and thus we meet Sopeap S...