[PDF] ✓ Miss Burma ✪ Charmaine Craig – Motyourdrive.co.uk

Miss Burma chapter 1 Miss Burma , meaning Miss Burma , genre Miss Burma , book cover Miss Burma , flies Miss Burma , Miss Burma 0fecab3ff957e 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 New Found 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 PeopleBased 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


10 thoughts on “Miss Burma

  1. says:

    I reached for support while reading this book Usually I m careful to not read than 1 or 2 reviews or no reviews of a book I m definitely interested in until after I ve taken my turn at reading it myself trying not to be influenced or hear details..But there are exceptions I reached for support most for buddy thinking with others and points of view about the characters when I read listened to Anna Karenina , not long ago It added pleasure as well as deeper comprehension With Miss Burma I reached to one specific person and google to expand my understanding of the history especially around the Civil War I had no previous knowledge about the ethnic conflicts in Burma now called Myanmar which was the largest civil war in history The war started in 1948 shorty after Burma became independent from the United Kingdom I knew nothing about the Karen people the 2nd largest ethnic group in Burma that live in Southeast Asia The Burmese ethnic group being the largest Over the last thousand years, all sorts of ethnic groups have controlled Burma In 1824 the British began their conquest of Burma which was completed in 1886 Burma was then incorporated into their Indian Empire The conquest of Burma by the British lead to freedom to the minority ethnic groups.but the rivalry worsened between the groups During WWII, the Japanese occupied Burma Horrific atrocities massacre and rape of women took place The Karen people fought back and formed political groups with the support of the British but the different leaders of Burma didn t help create a peaceful democracy With so much strife within the Karen community many of them left to seek sanctuary in other nations The PERSONAL STORYTELLING between Benny and Khin the struggles in their marriage and their oldest daughter, Louise, Miss Burma pageant beauty and her challenge choosing who to be loyal to the Burma s or Karen s were gut wrenching real With Benny being Jewish Burmese and Khin from the Karen ethnic group the line between resentments and loyalty touches our shared and enduring humanity My BOOK READING supporter was Gumble s Yard little did he know the difference he made for me Many thanks to Gumble s review with an insert link by the author, that made me cry I returned to my own reading with a new zest of excitement I no longer felt as stupid Soon after reading Gumble s review my reading PICKED UP things fell into place I became so interested I was hanging on tightly and not letting go I HIGHLY SUGGEST readers read Gumble Yard s review on Miss Burma for those people like me that worry the history politics might be challenging His review is HELPFUL AND INSPIRING clear easy to comprehend with TIPS on ways to read the book I also must thank Renata. my sweet California friend READ HER REVIEW TOO.to get an emotional sense of this book and a moving expression of SO MUCH LOVE and APPRECIATION for Miss Burma.Without the gentle loving ruthless push from Renata I may not have read this book now THANK YOU, Renata.SoThat s it..all you get from MY review haha READ GUMBLE S YARD review 3 stars from him.and Renata s 5 stars from her..Also.I loved the 5 star review from Trish Thank you Trish A few added thoughts from me The personal parts of the storytelling felt equally as traumatic as the national historical traumatic parts There was a personal scene describe that was one of the worse human suffering s I ve ever read in any book It s a hard visual to let go of but thankfully the author was kind enough not to drag out this awful scene yet it needed to be told The wars of brutality could not contain the reality of their lives.Isn t that the truth Through the voice of the narrating at times I felt I was living in the village in Calcutta it was a part of the story easy to imagine having traveled there myself many years ago Through the writing and getting to know the main characters there were times this story was so intimate I forgot that I needed to struggle a few times I even laughed with the charming dialogue.One of the things that stayed with me was knowing that this fiction story with so much to learn was based on true facts about author s mother and grandparents My gosh I could feel the depths of passion from which she wrote I agree with Gumble when he said Charmaine Craig over wrote this novel However I could see, feel, and understand why even the smallest tidbits of details parts that felt less important to include were personal to the author So my heart ached with love for her This novel took me on a journey I laughed and cried I struggled then didn t struggle I m left with love, appreciation and respect for Charmaine Craig I tried to imagine the years of work effort fight within herself to get this story written to the best of her ability linked through her umbilical cordmother and grandparents It had to be an emotional journey to write it Ultimately Charmaine Craig s massive novel with heartbreaking history and characters that felt real reaches into our hearts emotionally too Thank you Renata and Gumble


  2. says:

    A layered and subtle historical fiction about a family in Burma and how they make it through all sorts of terrible things that happen there.This is an incredibly dark book based on the true family history of Charmaine Craig My book club had a tough time discussing it Your problem is that you believe in right and wrong Don t you know evil will find you no matter what pg 11.First of all, the introductory portion doesn t make sense until the last half of the book The pacing is glacially slow A few of our club members couldn t make it through the first couple of chapters.Secondly, the constant warring and torture of innocents by the conquering forces is really difficult to read We welcomed them because we d been persecuted by the Burmans for centuries, we d been their slaves our villages perpetually attacked, our people perpetually preyed upon, stripped of everything from our clothing to our lives pg 37.It is an important history, certainly, but the darkness of it made me feel sick.A third problem club members had with Miss Burma is it feels disjointed.At first, readers thought Khin and Benny were the focus of the book But then, the point of view drifted around to Louisa, their beautiful daughter, and her story took over We must find a way to rejoice in our circumstances We must find a way to do than endure pg 145Basically, the Karen are an ethnic minority in Burma, now Myanmar For centuries, the Karen have been enslaved by the Burmese The underlying story is about how the Karen tried to unite against the ruling government to create a federation Our modesty that runs so deep it is almost self annihilating But now. our relative invisibility strikes me as very sad If you stand for a moment behind their eyes behind the eyes of anyone for whom modesty is not an ultimate virtue we appear to value our lives less than they do pg 168Against this background, the family of Khin and Benny tries to survive and do what they believe is right.This story is full of flawed characters and whole passages where most of the action takes place in people s minds.There is fairly graphic torture, rape and violence If any of those are triggers for you, beware.Recommended for patient readers and those who can handle a very dark history The book club certainly learned a lot about Burma from this book And bullets still fly in Myanmar today.


  3. says:

    This deeply impactful novel, contrary to what the title might suggest, is not merely beautifully written and proportioned it is weighted with historical, cultural, philosophical, and political insights from an area of the world well hidden from the sight and understanding of the majority of Americans The novel is so dense with authentic seeming detail that it demands the kind of close attention few novels warrant.In a L.A Times interview, Charmaine Craig tells us this novel is based on her mother Louisa s story Craig could not have done a better job of memorializing her mother s memory, and it was heartbreaking to hear her recount meeting the popular Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi a few years ago and being recognized as her mother s child Craig spent nearly a decade writing this novel, using some of the time researching and reading declassified CIA documents to see how her mother s first husband was murdered in the process of peace talks with the Burmese leadership, apparently with the help of some double dealing by the CIA Her mother, a one time beauty queen, became a leader of Karen rebels in the mountainous eastern region of Burma While at first Craig did not want the book to be political, it is clearly a political document, and extremely informative for that It puts the political wrangling in Burma, particularly now in this time of Burma s opening to the West and the Rohingya persecution, in historical and global perspective.Books of such regional particularity are rare things in English that Craig attempts to share with us the tumultuous experience of her parents and grandparents growing up in such a consequential time and in such a distant clime is a rare gift What makes this spectacular novel well worthy of its place on the 2017 Man Booker Prize long list is not the accuracy of its history, but how Craig s characters navigate and philosophize their roles in their own fictional histories Deeply meaningful statements on the human condition are sprinkled throughout the book, observations and philosophies articulated by one or another character facing a great challenge The predominant religion of Burma is Buddhist, though many Karens are animist or Christian Craig spent some time explaining the following phrase It is better to be in a position of having to ask for charity than to be in the position of never having to ask This sounds very close to a lesson I d once heard from Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk from Vietnam, who said that having less than one needed offered an opportunity for developing and expressing compassion Craig explains that having to ask for something develops one s spiritual muscle In another circumstance, Craig draws a lesson from a Jewish rabbi when one of her characters is appealing for advice One of man s injunctions is to strive to live joyously In the face of these terrible wars abroad, when our very peace is threatened, we must find a way to rejoice in our circumstances We must find a way to do than endure What a remarkable and completely freeing and true thing to say At the end of the novel, several characters look upon their lives and recognize this necessity to strive to find greatness in the midst of failure The lessons are applied, and it is grace giving and forgiving and loving, despite all.Individuals engaged in a civil war lasting generations are concerned with the state of their souls I ve been trying to figure out all these years in defending our rights with this revolution is whether or not we have the right to kill It seems clear enough that violence, murder even of the murderous, is a surrender of a kind But do we have the right to stand by and watch people be made slaves I love that Craig asks these big, earthshaking questions because the answers are the things that may save us The questions show us we are worthy to be saved We will all come across these questions in the course of a life and to have a story big enough, consequential enough, to introduce them without pedantry is a tremendous gift.Craig mentioned in her interview that she worked as an actress for a time until the stereotyping in Hollywood became too much of an obstacle to great work I can tell her from this side of the screen the failures of imagination by casting directors and producers are agonizingly apparent But I wish I could encourage her to be the change you seek and to write for the screen if she can I would tell her the country is hungry for diversity of color and experience and she is likely to be very successful, if that is where her heart lies I feel so grateful for this big dense book of history and imagination Craig is enormously talented and I wish her every success The book is also available in audio, read by the author, produced by Blackstone Audio The author has a disconcertingly American voice when one might expect something accented, even British However, were Craig to publish the book she says in the interview that she wrote first the one about her mother and herself growing up that American accent would make all kinds of sense Sounds like a good sequel, doesn t it However one consumes this book, I highly recommend it.


  4. says:

    Audiobook performed by the author, Charmaine Craig 13h 21 min 3.5 stars Placed on the long list for the Women s Prize, I decided on this book because it is the FIRST book I have ever read that talks about Burma, its break from British colonialism and the many years of unrest and bloodshed that ensued The author herself describes this story as a mixture of a political and historical novel while also relating part of her family history particularly her maternal lineage Miss Burma was a slow burn type of novel, but I easily became swayed by the cadence of the author s voice as she took me from her grandparents courtship, to their married years, to her grandfather s imprisonment and finally to her mother s beauty pageant and the civil war that made her a strong political activist The author wrote this book with the collaboration of her mother, Louisa, and the vivid descriptions really helped me have a feeling of the time period 1930 s 1960 s I did experience a loss when the story transitioned after 15 chapters from Craig s grandparents to her mother s narrative However, that jolt didn t shake me up too much and I certainly wouldn t have wanted that to be omitted My hat is tipped in the direction of the author who made sure her family s story was permanently fixed on paper I shall not be surprised if this book finds itself adapted on the big screen someday.That being said and it seems odd to state, but this book was laden with a feeling of being too wordy However, I think it s impossible to overlook what is truly an informative and compelling narrative of one family s story alongside that of their nation.


  5. says:

    This book is a fictionalised retelling of a remarkable and true family history, which the author has told herself in a Literary Hub article which is included at the back of my edition of the book, but the link for which I include below.https lithub.com my mysterious mothThe article itself effectively contains the whole plot of the book so is best read alongside the book for which it provides a useful summary rather than before it but the opening paragraphs sets the scene nicely Known by her maiden name, Louisa Benson, my mother was not Burman, the majority race in Myanmar Her father was Sephardic, and her mother was of the Karen ethnic nationality, one of Burma s indigenous and chronically oppressed people.She was born on the eve of Burma s involvement in the Second World War, when the Japanese invaded, led by a band of Burmans wanting to oust the British More detail on the life of Louisa Benson can be found below book opens with Louisa s parents the author s maternal grandparents Benny and Khin meeting for the first time on a pier in Burma just after the start of the World War but at a time when Burma was still felt to be immune and thereafter traces their lives and that of some key characters around them particularly a lover of Benny s and two lovers of Khin and their children, alongside the tumultuous post war history of Burma particularly as experienced by the Karen people.The two threads family memoir and national tribal history interweave naturally in a two way interaction not only are the family profoundly and traumatically affected by that history, but they also play an important role in, it particularly in the Karen separatist movement The other key family character is Craig s mother Louisa who twice wins the Miss Burma competition, and has later periods both as a movie star, as something of a tabloid victim but both shot through with Burmese politics and then as enforced by circumstance default leader of one of the key rebel movements.A key part of the book is the difficulty of communication across language, cultural and people barriers Benny and Khin s first conversation is facilitated by a translator and their early conversations even Khin disclosing her pregnancy in an almost pidgin language Different experience particularly traumatic experiences of war, detention, rape torture only serve to widen the difficulty of communication and Louisa s difficult relationships with both her parents only adds additional lines of non communication, and the dimension of generation.Key political themes of the book include The malign role of British colonialism in handicapping Burmese independence and poisoning race people relations from the offset, particularly to be able to retreat from colonial responsibilities as soon as possible post War The equally malign influence after that of American overseas policy, in a State department obsessed by the domino theory and a part CIA part privateer group whose ultimate aim in their overt and covert interference in Burmese politics is unclear to anyone the reader, the Burmese and one has to conclude even themselves The validity or otherwise of violent resistance in the face of oppression The tension in the separatist movements between arguing for independence or federalism while effectively condoning and consolidating the poor relations between peoples and instead aiming for a United democracy but then trusting in the good faith of the majority Burman group, in the face of all evidence to the contrary So overall a book with a fascinating and true back story, with great political insight and a great take on a relatively unknown history and strong themes However it was not a book that I felt was very well executed and the reason I think lies in the fact that the author, who is clearly a very talented writer, has overwritten the book In particular I struggled with the overbearing voice of the traditional omniscient narrator, which seems to remove the agency from the characters and leaving interpretation space for the reader I felt that too often I was being told what the characters were feeling than being given space to understand what they were feeling In fact than that, typically I was told what one of the characters knew that the other character was feeling or indicating in this book facial expressions, particularly eyes take over the communication that the characters find difficult A typical example is Don t you see his searching glance seemed to tell her All of that that suffering you put yourself through it came out of a need not to offend And as long as you concern yourself with upsetting others, you re in prison And As I see it, you are your father s daughter He was a warrior, too, in his way Trust him to endure this And even the characters eventually seem to realise that this is the only method by which the author will allow them to communicate Don t speak she said Don t immediately deny it Just listen to me, and let me read your eyes Finally, to end on a positive note, the book which took years in the writing Craig s first draft was based on her relationship with her mother has become eeringly, if depressingly prescient given the recent persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar Even fascinatingly, given the West s current disillusion with the Nobel laureate and long term political prisoner turned political leader Aung San Suu Kyi for her apparent acquiescence in these acts, her father Aung San, Japanese backing fighter turned national liberator turned British backed leader features in the book as someone distrusted by the Karen people How very Western to trust the word of a man who speaks fluently, intelligently, even brilliantly How very Western to trust that he has the same code of honour How naive to think that because he makes one gesture towards Western democracy he couldn t possibly at the same time be plotting a systematized form of inequality a state in which one dominant race rules and is sanctioned to discriminate against others against minorities


  6. says:

    A richly rewarding read on many levels An exhausting read emotionally and yet uplifting as well A complex novel that is both the history of Burma from about 1939 and how it became today s Myanmar I knew little about Burma before reading this a small country in Asia, tea plantations, elephants, jungle, some British involvement, and lots of ugliness in WWII w the Japanese invasion Now I know a great deal and how broad of an effect the power struggles of WWII, the ensuing revolution and the machinations of the Cold War have had on this small but ethnically diverse nation I had heard the author speak at a literary conference about her family and how this book came into being Like many immigrant families, they live in two worlds their new country and the one left behind For Craig, the shadow and pull of Burma on her mother was particularly strong It is her mother, an ethnic Karen minority almost fifty percent of the population who was crowned Miss Burma twice during a time when the Burmese were trying to deny the Karen their voice and freedom in their own country I ve read many war books, probably a consequence of my own families past during WWII in Europe War is brutal and there is enough brutality to go around in this book, too But there is also tremendous courage and commitment to family and the greater cause of creating a just federation of the different ethnic groups to provide a harmonious home for all Well, one has only to listen or read the news to realize that had not been achieved What I feel most in awe of is how fully alive and three dimensional the people in this novel are She lets you inhabit their very body and mind in a way that is only possible in great literature The confusion, the turmoil, the never quite knowing who to trust, what information to trust, what feelings in your inner self to trust is an ever present theme and one so clearly understandable in the chaos of war and power struggles, the struggles to survive in the aftermath She writes with a large and generous heart, a heart wrenching portrayal of real people contending with heart wrenching issues of survival and being true to themselves and to those they love Her love of the land, the greens and blues, the mist, the rain, the humidity, the forests and mountains and streams, left me feeling like I walked the trails, like stood on wharf and looked out to sea with Khin and and Benny Craig writes beautifully, intelligently, and with deep reflection I can see how it took her fifteen years I have a beautiful hard back edition and smile when I see how many pages I dog eared to return to and reread a section once I finished the book The last third of the book became ever compelling and the number of pages I turned a corner on reflects my intense involvement with the story and characters lives I love this book and know it s many stories will be with me for years to come I also want to say it is a very political book which will speak to many readers, especially those who follow history That might also be too much for other readers who are interested in the human stories The political reflections were an equally important and meaningful part to me because I ve come to realize how much everything really is political yesterday, today, and tomorrow I will add one quote portraying Craig s grandfather, Benny a Jewish Indian man who married her grandmother, Khin who belonged to the Karen minority group long persecuted by the Burmese One sweltering night he paced his study in nothing than his underpants, mumbling to himself The problem was that there would always be problems among men, and neither Nu s unity nor communism accounted for that, or allowed men to negotiate their problems through government Only democracy did that Ahh, one We re not alone in this, Lyndon said, putting his arm around her waist If we look past our petty proclivities, past our troubled history if we see the broader common goal we Karen s, and also the Kachin, the Mon, the Shans, the Muslims, the Burmans everyone with an eye to democracyIf we find a way to come together, they won t be able to stand in our way And our friends will be there to help us This books stories and themes are so immediate I m grateful I read it The tears I shed I rarely cry over books were for every mother and child separated by war and conflict, for every idealist past and present who has fought for inclusion and dignified, respectful treatment for all


  7. says:

    It feels surprising that Miss Burma is perhaps the least known novel on this year s Women s Prize longlist when its plot and the origins of its story are so sensational Perhaps its initial publication made a bigger splash in the US, but I ve seen many people in the UK remark that they had not heard of this book before its prize nomination The blurbs on its cover from accomplished authors such as Viet Thanh Nguyen and Garth Greenwell certainly speak highly of the regard this novel is held in It s Charmaine Craig s second novel, but prior to becoming a writer she was an actress who notably played the live action model upon whom the animated character of Disney s Pocahontas was based off from The story of Miss Burma and the central character of Louisa were based on Craig s mother who had a truly epic life as a beauty pageant winner, famous Burmese actress and political revolutionary Both Louisa and her family were intimately involved in the complicated social and political changes that occurred in the recent history of Burma presently known as Myanmar Charmaine Craig reimagines her family s harrowing story which parallels this turbulent 20th century period that involved a break from colonialism, warring ethnic groups, invasion interference from numerous foreign powers and the military leadership of the country after a coup d etat in 1962.Read my full review of Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig on LonesomeReader


  8. says:

    I have to confess I m utterly perplexed as to what this is doing on the 2018 Women s Prize for Fiction longlist There s the germ of a good story here but I wish Craig had written it as the family memoir on which the tale is based rather than trying to turn it into a sweeping novel she s not a natural writer and her prose is clunky As though to nurture the seed of her doubt in his ability to be honest and as though to punish her for the falseness she d mentioned , he found himself lying to her in response , and drifts awkwardly between POVs there are awkward expressions throughout what was so very unforeseen Benny said, some kind of pain flooding up to his lips and charged him in English crossed Burmese her characters are one dimensional and implausible, plus they do that thing that drives me mad in historical novels the perfectly ordinary main character somehow meets and interacts with everyone famous from the time from Aung San to General Ne Win, and even the British PM the book oscillates between a rash of insta love romances and text book history lectures though almost all the historical substance happens off stage, as it were, and the narrative voice just inserts itself gives us brief bulletins amidst all the family melodrama there s no substantial evocation of Burma Myanmar as a country replete with culture, food, cities, rural areas, and jungle, rich in natural resources and glittering with gem stones For example, the Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon is mentioned in passing and if you don t know how magnificent it is, covered in gold, well, this book won t tell you really wanted to love this book but rapidly found myself skimming the over written romances and just reading the limited history In some ways, Burma s situation during WW2 parallels that of India as both rebel against British imperialism which leads them, temporarily, into a fraught and short lived alliance with the Japanese Post war independence leads not inevitably eventually to military dictatorship and the CIA are predictably up to their usual shady and nefarious goings on So there is so much potential in Craig s idea but, honestly, it needs a better, experienced, subtle and sophisticated writer to do it justice The obvious comparison is with Paul Scott s The Raj Quartet this book is mere froth and popcorn beside that Which is a shame.


  9. says:

    I have never had a need to be seen, to be recognized for doing anything In fact, I prefer to be invisible Nothing seems appropriate than to pass out of this world as invisibly as I passed into it, remarked by only one or two who truly cared for me Rangoon 1940 A man sees a woman in a red dress standing on the jetty and falls in love The woman does not even speak his language She belongs to the Karen, a persecuted ethnic minority They marry They suffer They grow apart A daughter of their strained relationship becomes 1956 s Miss Burma, but the military dictatorship exploits her as the face of the unity and integration in post colonial Burma The dictator deceives He distracts the international community while the Burman ethnic majority exterminates the minorities including the Karen people Burma for Burmans Blood and Soil Miss Burma trades in her tiara for view spoiler a rifle, and her heels for fatigues She becomes a freedom fighter against the dictatorship of Ne Win hide spoiler


  10. says:

    Longlisted for the National Book Award Chances are that you, like myself, know next to nothing about Burmese history Craig places this history within a fictionalized version of her mother s life story The result is engrossing, terrifying, and amazing You need to read this.


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