Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Craig, Charmaine "Miss Burma"

Craig, Charmaine "Miss Burma" - 2017

A recommendation by my blog friend Judy from Keep the Wisdom, (check out her post here) and I though it sounded totally interested. I had read a book about Burma/Myanmar before, so I didn't necessarily need to read it for my challenge "Travel the World Through Books" but that's not the main reason I do that list.

This story is based on the author's mother and grandparents, so I suppose a lot of the events are exactly as they happened. What a tragic story. If you are expecting a book about how a beauty queen is chosen, I wouldn't recommend it. If you want a book about Myanmar and its history, what they did to the people and why we didn't hear more about it, I highly recommend it. This novel reads a little more like a non-fiction book - which I like. There is so much the author covers about the history and culture of her country here, the different peoples that were thrown together. And we see what this does not only to her family but to all those members who don't belong to the ruling class. Her grandfather was a Jew from India, her grandmother a member of the Karen minority in Burma.

In any case, this is a great book if you want to learn more about that part of our world. And I think we all should know more about it.

From the back cover:
"Based on the remarkable lives of the author's mother and grandparents, Miss Burma is a beautiful and poignant story of how ordinary people come to be swept up in the fight for freedom.

A beautiful and poignant story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood.

It is 1939, and Benny, a young Jewish officer, is working for the British Customs Service in Burma. One day during his shift at the docks, he catches sight of a young woman with hair down to her ankles, standing at the end of a jetty. This is Khin, who belongs to Burma’s Karen ethnic minority group, which for centuries has been persecuted by the Burman majority. She and Benny soon marry, but when World War II comes to Asia, and Rangoon finds itself under threat of the Japanese occupation, the young couple and their baby daughter Louisa are forced to take shelter among Khin’s Karen countrymen in the eastern part of Burma. After the war, the British Empire strikes an independence deal with the Burman Nationalists, led by Aung San, leaving the Karen and other ethnic minority groups in a precarious position. Soon Benny will become an architect of the Karen revolution, which sparks the longest running civil war in recorded history.

Nearly a decade into the civil war. Louisa captures the country’s imagination, becoming Burma’s first national beauty queen. As she navigates her soaring fame and increasingly dire political reality, Louisa will be forced to reckon with her family’s past, the West’s ongoing covert dealings in Burma, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

A captivating story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a masterful novel of love, war, and the struggle to lead a meaningful life."


  1. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for the shout out! Now when I read any news about this country, I understand so much better what it all means.

    1. So true. That's the main reason I read all these books about people living in foreign countries, fiction and non-fiction. The more we understand about other cultures, the fewer wars we have. I firmly believe that and will keep on reading this kind of literature for as long as I can read and promote it hopefully even longer through this blog.