The Telegraph | Clover Stroud | May 4, 2009
BURMA CHRONICLES reviewed by The Telegraph
Travel books: Burma Chronicles and The Best of Britain – Cotswolds
The latest travel books reviewed. This week: a comic book devoted to Burma and a guide to the voluptuous hills and the chocolate-box villages of the Cotswolds.
When Guy Delisle's wife was sent to work in Burma for an NGO, he had plenty of time to observe normal Burmese life – which he then recorded in this brilliantly illustrated comic book.
Delisle is excellent at portraying the sometimes sinister details of day-to-day existence, and the comic-book format is completely engaging. Charged with looking after their young son, Louis, Delisle struggles with his new role as a house-husband, while remaining baffled by the often secretive machinations of life in such an alien society.
Though he is rarely overtly critical of the country, he makes it clear that for most people born there, life is severely restricted. For example, he sets up a small art class and discovers that some of his pupils work for comic magazines; when he asks if he can visit their office, he is told this is impossible as the various floors of the building don't mix since "it's all top secret".
As a counterpoint to the often inaccessible news stories about the country, this is an excellent portrait of a little-understood land, and makes for a deeply original and fascinating piece of travel writing.