Miss Burma Lib/E
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.
Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. After attending school in Calcutta, Benny settles in Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, and falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of the country during the Japanese Occupation, beginning a journey that will lead them to change the country's history.
After the war, the British authorities make a deal with the Burman nationalists, led by Aung San, whose party gains control of the country. When Aung San is assassinated, his successor ignores the pleas for self-government of the Karen people and other ethnic groups, and in doing so sets off what will become the longest-running civil war in recorded history. Benny and Khin's eldest child, Louisa, has a danger-filled, tempestuous childhood and reaches prominence as Burma's first beauty queen soon before the country falls to dictatorship. As Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family's past, the West's ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.
Based on the story of the author's mother and grandparents, Miss Burma is a captivating portrait of how modern Burma came to be and of the ordinary people swept up in the struggle for self-determination and freedom.
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About the Author
Charmaine Craig is a faculty member in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside and the descendant of significant figures in Burma's modern history. She is a former actor in film and television and a Burma activist privy to negotiations at the highest level in the current conflict. She studied literature at Harvard and received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Her first novel, The Good Men, was a national bestseller translated into six languages.
Author Charmaine Craig provides a tender imagined account of her own family in twentieth-century Southeast Asia. An author's narration can be a treat because she can bring her words to life in a way that no one else can. In every scene, Craig is captivating as she recounts her grandmother's quiet strength, her grandfather's desperate drive, and her mother's precociousness.-- "AudioFile"
Masterfully renders the human condition in matters micro and vast...[including] the globally perpetuated unfair treatment of women.-- "Elle"
Craig ably controls the novel's historic sweep...She also conveys a strong sense of family.-- "New Yorker"
A timely exposition of trust after trauma... [and] a much-needed recalibration of history...Craig produces some passages of exquisitely precise description...and brings one of Burma's many lost histories to vivid life.-- "New York Times"
Charts both a political history and a deeply personal one...[and] those incendiary moments when private and public motivations overlap.-- "Los Angeles Times"
[A novel] forcing us to consider the intersection of the personal and political and the extent to which individuals are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.-- "New York Journal of Books"
Powerful and vivid prose...epic and intimate...a compelling and disturbing trip through Burmese history and politics.-- "Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author"
Challenges our assumptions about everything from beauty queens to rebels and reminds us that the course of a nation's history is often determined by the fallibility of individuals.-- "Booklist (starred review)"
Rich and layered, a complex weaving of national and personal trauma. ...Mesmerizing and haunting.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
A rich, complex account of Burma and its place within the larger geopolitical theater.-- "Publishers Weekly"
A meditation on how to attain peace and democracy after repeated betrayals, both in marriage and in the political sphere...Riveting.-- "Library Journal"
Craig writes about war and exile with an exquisite mix of tenderness and intelligence. A brilliant book.-- "Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account"