Fleur de Lotus (Lotus Blossom)
by Charles Bellan
An "orientalist" novel based on extensive knowledge of Angkorean civilization and Khmer popular culture.
Publisher: Editions du Monde Nouveau, Paris
Language : French
At a fictional Angkor court, prince consort Sauvannah has reached the age of marrying. During a lavish party, he's invited to pick his chosen one (or ones) among a bevy of beautiful maidens. Nevertheless, a hermit sage has predicted that the real love of his life inhabits a faraway land, and he embarks in a long journey to find her.
Botum Votdey (Fleur de Lotus, Lotus Blossom) is the only daughter of Preah Reamea, the King of Paranosey. After a first encounter and many tribulations, prince and princess will find happiness and return to Angkor, where Sauvannah would reign under the name of Prea Tchey Tchestha.
Like the compilation of ancient Khmer songs Charles Bellan co-authored with Albert Tricon, the book is dedicated to King to "SM Preas Bat Somdach Preah Sisowath, Chom Chakrepongs, Roi du Cambodge".
Several of these songs are quoted in the novel to express feelings of love, sorrow or desire.
About the Author
A French administrative officer in the 1920s, Charles Bellan served as "Résident" (Governor-Delegate) of Kompong Speu Province, "Administrateur des Services Civils de l'Indochine" et "Résident de France" in Cambodia during 25 years.
He authored a novel, Fleur de Lotus (Lotus Flower), published in Paris in 1924. He also wrote on Khmer and Annamite linguistics and folk culture, as well as a political essay, Le Crime colonial, and another "Cambodian novel" (roman cambodgien), L'eau du serment.