A brilliant, tender evocation of contemporary Burma from the award-winning author of Stalin’s Nose and The Oatmeal Ark.
‘One of the most original and extraordinary travel books for years’ was how Alexander Frater described The Oatmeal Ark in the Observer, and now here is a new book from Rory MacLean. In this marvellous book this extraordinary writer expresses the pain of Burma with great tenderness, using novelistic techniques to weave together the patient endurance of its stricken inhabitants, together with their fragility and immense charm. Through his intense studies of the lives of the individual Burmese he encounters he makes us feel the weight of the regime under which they labour, from the girls who work on the building-sites under appallingly exploitative conditions to the drunken pirates who profit from the chaos.
Not only that, but Burma is surely a country of great interest here, being a part of the Eastern Empire about which the British are so nostalgic; and being such a lovely, fragile country under the iron hand of an oppressive military regime, the opposition led by the determined, tiny figure of Aung San Suu Kyi, it has a compelling quality about it that outweighs either Eastern Europe or Canada. Rory MacLean continues to be one of the most exciting and – in literary terms – adventurous of modern travel writers.
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Praise for Stalin’s Nose:
‘Crazy, charming, a delight’
- John Le Carré
‘A minor masterpiece of comic surrealism’
- The Times
Praise for The Oatmeal Ark:
‘So polished, so clever, so artful, so innovative; a remarkable, beguiling journey’
- Michael Thompson-Noel, Financial Times
It is just over ten years ago since Burmese people rose up against their military government. The unarmed demonstrators were cut down, leaving more than five thousand people dead. ' Under the Dragon', is a brilliant evocation of contemporary Burma in which Rory Maclean travels from a decaying Rangoon to the heart of the golden triangle, seeking out the victims and perpetrators of the uprising. He rides with a hill-tribe warlord, shares tea with a government censor and is trapped into a karaoke evening with a group of singing Chinese businessmen. He meets the most courageous and principled woman of our age, Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned leader of the democratic opposition party. And on his journey, he unravels a paradox of selfless generosity and sinister greed in a country stitched together by love and fear.
“Rory Maclean is more than a gifted writer. He is a man whose artistry is underpinned by a powerful moral sensibility.”
“Shines with an almost unbearable poignancy … a beautiful insight into this unhappy land.”
COLIN THUBRON, 'The Times'
“Beautifully crafted and poignant.”
ANTHONY SATTIN,'Sunday Times'
“I couldn’t put it down. It made me cry.”
SUE WHEAT, 'Guardian'
“A triumphant exploration of a country brutalised by dictatorship.”
“A timely, fluent, passionate book which ought to be read by all who value the right of a courageous people to their freedom.”
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Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0006530826