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ISBN : 978-2-9191-2244-8

Format : 15 x 21 cm

Pages : 320 pages + 24-pages colour booklet

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Mémoire du Laos
(A Remembrance of Laos)

Geneviève Couteau | June 2010

The illustration of a passion.
The subtle portrait of a magical and timeless Laos.

The book

In the heart of South East Asia is Laos, the ancient Kingdom of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol, reputed for its ‘art de vivre’ and the gentleness of its inhabitants; it is re-emerging today after a long period of conflict and isolation.

Geneviève Couteau arrived in Laos in 1968 at the request of Prince Souvanna Phouma in order to convey artistically ‘the appearance and the mystery’ of the country. At that time most of the towns were cut off because of the war but the traditional rites were still very much alive. The author stayed in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang Vien and Khong in Southern Laos. She took part in the ‘Baci’ ceremony, weddings, cremations; she talked to monks about Laotian buddhism.
She met writers and poets, village heads, war leaders and an old princess who had become a nun.

During her second visit in 1972, she lived in a southern province in the home of Prince Boun Om — brother of the third most important figure in the Kingdom — and experienced the final days of a world that was feudal. In this traveller’s account, well observed and documented, teeming with stories, meetings and notes very much in the style of the nineteenth century travellers memoirs. It is a spiritual journey too. “You never return from Asia quite the same” she observes.

This new edition, richly illustrated with sketches, drawings and portraits from life, enables us to relive the Laos that so many of us have discovered as a paradise on earth despite the conflicts and violence it has experienced.

Preface by Yves Cosson.

The author

Memoire du Laos_auteurPainter, drawer, engraver, GenevièveCouteau, born in Paris has had more than 60 exhibitions in her name in Europe, in Asia and in New York. Her artistic work is devoted to a profound study of the rites and customs of the areas she visits as she gathers notes, studies and portraits. “She sketches with a sharp perception andher painting is spell-binding” says Pierre de Boisdeffre. In this book she reveals herself as a writer.