BookBrowse Reviews Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin

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Finding George Orwell in Burma

by Emma Larkin

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 304 pages

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A many-faceted book, beautifully written. Current Affairs, Travel. 1st Book

From the book jacket: A brave and revelatory reconnaissance of modern Burma, one of the world's grimmest and most shuttered police states, using as its compass the life and work of George Orwell, the man many in Burma call simply "the prophet".

In one of the most intrepid political travelogues in recent memory, Emma Larkin tells of the year she spent traveling through Burma using the life and work of George Orwell as her compass......Using Orwell enables her to show, effortlessly, the weight of the colonial experience on Burma today, the ghosts of which are invisible and everywhere. More important, she finds that the path she charts leads her to the people who have found ways to somehow resist the soul-crushing effects of life in this most cruel police state. And George Orwell's moral clarity, hatred of injustice, and keen powers of observation serve as the author's compass in another sense too: they are qualities she shares and they suffuse her book - the keenest and finest reckoning with life in this police state that has yet been written.

Comment: Emma Larkin is the pseudonym of an American journalist based in Bangkok, Thailand who has traveled regularly to Burma. The pseudonym is to protect her many contacts in Burma.  According to Larkin, the Burmese have a joke that George Orwell didn't write just one book about Burma (Burmese Days) but a trilogy - Burmese Days, Animal Farm and 1984.

Finding George Orwell takes us where few readers will probably ever have the chance to travel - far into the heart of this deeply troubled country to meet its many fascinating and resilient people.  Highly recommended.

This review is from the July 20, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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