Friday, December 4, 2009

Burmese Lessons by Karen Connelly / Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

Two recent books offer a look through Canadian eyes at a country suffering under one of the most oppressive military regimes in the world: Burma/Myanmar. The books complement each other well, one relying on comic strips and the other on the imagery evoked by lyrical language. Cartoonist Delisle (Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China; Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea) documents a year spent in Rangoon, caring for his infant son while his wife worked for Medecins Sans Frontiers. Connelly reveals her experiences in Burma and Thailand of more than a decade ago, when she began writing The Lizard Cage - a harrowing novel about punishment and courage - and fell in love not only with Burma, but with a Burmese man. The distillation of Connelly's lessons is that to care is the essential human act.

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