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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Round the corner from 'The Lady'
A few years ago I went through a little graphic phase. After being enchanted by Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, a graphic novel which showed the literary possibilities of the form, I quickly happened upon a very different kind of graphic experience in the political travelogues of Joe Sacco. First published by Fantagraphics his series of strips on Palestine were collected...
Published on 23 July 2009 by Just William

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intrigues and Frustrates...
Like so many ex-pat books this is one long self-indulgent moanologue: "Things are not the same as they are at home!" Fortunately this is interspersed with the excitement and thrill of being in one of the few exotic places in the world where westerners do not get to venture. (In Delisle's case his wife, a doctor with Médecins Sans Frontières, provides the...
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by stevieby


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Round the corner from 'The Lady', 23 July 2009
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Hardcover)
A few years ago I went through a little graphic phase. After being enchanted by Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, a graphic novel which showed the literary possibilities of the form, I quickly happened upon a very different kind of graphic experience in the political travelogues of Joe Sacco. First published by Fantagraphics his series of strips on Palestine were collected together by Jonathan Cape and led me onto his travels into Bosnia and Sarajevo. I guess part of the appeal was to have an easily accessible format to get some basic education about the politics behind those particular areas of conflict (pictures, and everything), but there was also something I loved about the self-deprecating humour and those moments where the shock of reality cut through the page, literally in black and white.

Following in a similar vein Guy Delisle produced a book called Pyongyang, a unique depiction of life in that most secretive of states. Again using simple black and white illustrations Delisle employs a similar humorous approach. Sent to North Korea as part of his work with a French animation company he spends lonely nights in a hotel, wishing for better coffee and food, leading a curious existence as he is marshaled around areas that the government deems fit to see. Slowly he is able to see more of the hidden parts of the country, getting a better idea of the life of ordinary Koreans and the realities of being part of the 'Axis-of-Evil'. That work continued with a trip to Shenzhen in China and his latest travelogue comes from Burma (or Myanmar).

The slight difference with his latest book is that it is his partner's work with MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) that has brought them there along with their baby son Louis. For a young father like me there was so much that I found familiar from my own travels with tot that the opening few pages had me grinning in recognition. A simple hotel room becomes a gauntlet of power sockets, taps and sharp corners all of which seem to have been designed to tempt young children and torment their parents. Having finally baby-proofed the room he is able to wander the streets of another dictatorship, slowly adapting to custom and tradition. That wry humour is given ample room to entertain, the baffling nature of life in a foreign country somehow amplified by his duty of care to young Louis. The locals of course are charmed by the baby, totally ignoring his father (something I'm all too familiar with) as they pass the baby around.

Burma is of interest of course because it has been ruled by a military junta since 1962 and the leader of the opposition Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years. Delisle finds out that the house in which he is staying is literally around the corner from her own, and determines to make a daily pilgrimage to attempt to see her (foreigners are not allowed access to her street) allowing us to see how well he can combine the political and the domestic (the next day he is far too busy bathing his son).

The domestic side was of great appeal to me but for a general readership there are clear examples of the oppression which seems to arouse little protest only because that opposition is so effectively silenced. There is also something about the length of time that Delisle spends in each destination and the graphic form itself which makes it perfect for illustrating those simple details which may evade the casual traveller and yet prove to be emblematic of the country and its culture. His frustrating search for ink with which to make his drawings takes us on a wild goose chase through the local bazaars ending in a great panel, smudged and running, where he is forced to use the fountain pen ink he knew wouldn't work. The three days he spends inside a non-touristy Buddhist retreat give him an entirely new perspective (literally) on the buildings he has been looking in on for the preceding months. Through his regular walks through a park he sees a few prayer notes attached to a tree grow into many, and then a fully fledged shrine begins to develop. That public display of faith depicted in three simple panels.

Sometimes a light touch is all that is needed to expose the banality of life under oppression. The combination of the form, the content and the humour makes Delisle's work accessible and enjoyable but that lightness shouldn't mask the potential importance of them as documents. Through his short exchanges with locals and aid workers he often sums up in a few sentences the essence of the problem or hypocrisy. There's no substitute for the testimony of those living and working in any situation and it could be said that through his books Delisle is proving that old adage about the pen and the sword.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it, 21 Feb 2012
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
Unusual but really excellent book for those about to travel to Burma, gives a flavour of the country with wit and humour, yet also sensible. My daughter finished it in one sitting and got a lot out of it.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 1 Jun 2010
By 
This review is from: The Burma Chronicles (Hardcover)
Another excellently drawn and narrated look at another Asian country. Touching, thought provoking, humorous. Further testimony to this guy's deep humanity and eagle eye. Don't miss it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You're goin' to Myanmar/Burma, be sure to have ..., 23 Mar 2014
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
... this booklet by Your side...

Ok - everyone has to chant this little melody, an adaption of "If you're go'in to San Francisco, be sure to have a flower..etc..etc ..., BEFORE entering the nice country that is know known as Myanmar,
Because it will be the last happy melody to chant for the next time being.

So, here we have the known Cartoonist Guy Delisle, his beautiful Doctor Wife, working for MSF, and their son, Baby.
First they were bound - happily accepting - for Guatemala.
Then - a change - Guatemala is too dangerous - they will go to Myanmar...
A lot less dangerous???

So, after You have studied this book with all its ca 300 pages, You know all about Myanmar, aka Burma, and even more that You wanted ever to know about it!

I did not see this book - no page of it - as other than a secret love affair of the author with this oh soh "Land without Smiles" or "The Farest Place far away from Democracy", as it was known to my little self in July in 2012 - since then there went a lot of water down the Irrawaddy!

This book, designed and written by Guy Delisle is nothing else but a declaration of love!!! A love that took its time to sprout, to bloom, to make a full flower, and, maybe also a fruit.

I read other books by this author, Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China and Pjöngjang a travelogue from North Korea, but this one seems to be his most mature work.
Maybe also the family thing, that he has to do a part-time job with his son, the excursions they make together, lots of strange things to discover, makes it reasy for the reader to identify her-/himself with our good Guy. :)

OK, Guy Delisle: Father of the Year!

(PS: Review edited all over 23/3/2014)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delisle fan, 10 April 2009
By 
PK (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Burma Chronicles (Hardcover)
We love all Delisle's graphic novels - from Shenzhen, Pyongyang to this on Burma. On this latest, you get snippets of info on Burma which are not leaked out to the mass media. Delisle is a social commentator with great humour. He isn't writing/drawing about a country he has not been to and his observations are very sharp.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read from Delisle, 18 April 2009
By 
Sinbad (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Hardcover)
Having been introduced to Delisle's work with the excellent Pyongyang: Journey in North Korea - I'm happy to say that Burma Chronicles is of equally high quality.

The "comic" (I don't want to call it a "graphic novel" because it's not a work of fiction) documents a year that he spent in Burma with his wife (who worked for MSF) and baby son, and gives you a good feel for the people, architecture, politics and various expats working out there.

For me, it's Delisle's wry sense of humour and observant eye which I really enjoy about his work. He has a knack for injecting humour, often in a very simple way and I found myself chuckling at several points in the story.

I wouldn't say the artwork is ground breakingly beautiful - but the simple line style which is rendered in greyscale just works really well and he has a good eye for detail.

I have no hesitation in recommending Burma Chronicles to those who have any interest in: Burma, travel to unusual places, or Delisle's other books. I shall certainly be buying, Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China his book on China, and keeping an eye out for any more of his work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great graphic novel!, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
This is my second graphic novel from Delisle and I wasn't disappointed. I love to follow his journey as a writer/dad/person throughout his travels.
It's really funny as he's character is so alive and vivid. It always makes me laugh to see how he draws himself because in reality he's better looking that his cartoon self :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 28 May 2013
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
Lovely black and white interpretation on Burma. Makes me want to go and visit! Brilliant cartoonist. I've read the rest of his stuff and recommend it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The third graphic novel by Guy Delisle, 10 Jan 2013
By 
EvanderJR (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
This is the third Guy Delisle graphic novel, similar to Pyongyang, this book takes you into a forbidden country. Here Guy Delisle is no longer an animator but a stay at home father in Burma.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 18 May 2012
By 
This review is from: Burma Chronicles (Paperback)
I love the work of Guy Delisle and Burma Chronicles doesn't disappoint. I do think that you have to really like Guy otherwise it could be like having a conversation with someone you find annoying, but I love his relaxed and unpretentious style.
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Burma Chronicles
Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (Paperback - 8 Sep 2011)
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