Excerpt from The Trouser People by Andrew Marshall, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Trouser People

A Story of Burma in the Shadow of the Empire

by Andrew Marshall

The Trouser People by Andrew Marshall X
The Trouser People by Andrew Marshall
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2002, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2003, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


A little girl wearing only one wellington boot was pushed forward. She had also been trapped in the fire at Nang Seng Tong's settlement. The girl sat down in front of me and tugged off her wellington. Her leg ended in a stump. At first I thought that she had also stepped on a mine, but in fact her foot had been crushed and bent forward, and the fire had fused it to her shin. The girl put both arms around the wellington boot and hugged it.

A posse of Shan rebels arrived to take us to the Colonel. The ruler of this bleak, apocalyptic place was not, as I had idly imagined, an unhinged recluse who stroked his bald head and growled, 'The horror, the horror...' Colonel Yawd Serk was a plain, businesslike man in pressed khakis, with a farmer's haircut and spectacles the size of Game Boy screens. The meeting took place on a nearby hilltop beneath thatched canopy. The journalists and aid workers sat on benches of twine-lashed bamboo. Small men with big guns crouched in the bushes all around.

We asked about troop strengths and rebel strategy and dry-season offensives. The Colonel answered methodically in Shan, and someone translated. He talked to us as he might to his soldiers; his quiet resolve and optimism were meant to inspire us. But this was the Burmese border, a region of the world where politics was so muddied by decades of ethnic war, and people so compromised by the lucrative trade in narcotics, that it was hard to tell who the good guys were any more. Nobody in our party seemed ready to trust him.

But I had a sneaking admiration for the man. There was a kind of formulaic outrage in writing about Burma that turned its people into little more than featureless victims. The Colonel's rebel army was tiny; his war against the Burmese military juggernaut was unwinnable. But he was not a victim. He continued to insist that the destiny of his people would not be decided by the generals in Rangoon. In Burma -– a country once described as a prison with 40 million inmates –- I would meet many more like him. For, despite the best efforts of the military dictatorship, the peoples of Burma were cultured, deeply eccentric and justly proud of their vibrant traditions. It was this courage and individualism that I hoped to seek out and celebrate as I set out in Sir George Scott's footsteps.

The Colonel spoke earnestly and at some length, mostly about the future. As he spoke, I watched a leech wriggle slowly across the table in front of him, climb on to a tape recorder lying there, and arch itself into a dot-less question mark.

Copyright Andrew Marshall, 2002. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.