My only disappointment with this book was that I got to the end! An amazing (unique?)story of courage, resiliance, tragedy and ultimately personal triumph. A recommended read for anyone over the age of sixteen. One of those books you will remember for a very long time (and may even change your life........)
As mentioned in other reviews, I found this book had quite a slow start. My expectations had focussed around this book being about the student rebellion that happened in late '80's Burma. In fact the book spends a long time in the author's childhood. At first I wasn't sure this was the correct start but as you enter the book further you realise that it underpins a lot of what comes next. From the period when the author entered the University in Mandalay I was hooked on this book. The stories about being a 'rebel' and having to escape from the Military Dictatorship show the degree of resilience that the author holds. His time in Cambridge is covered with no pretension, just highlighting the difficulty of the culture change, and the problems associated with his initial low degree of knowledge as regards the English language. Having read a number of books on Burma I found this didn't cover as much about the 'democratic rebellion' as others. However it told me a lot more about the culture of the Burmese and the individual tribes that inhabit Burma. Something I found of great interest.
This is a beautifully written book which combines very touching personal stories with hilarious anecdotes and moments of true horror. An amazing story very well told, and also an extremely interesting insight into a culture that accepts supernatural intervention as a commonplace occurence.
This is a stunning achievement by the author, who grew up under a totalitarian regime ignored by the rest of the world. English is his fourth or fifth language, and despite this, he writes in an elegant and poetic style which never becomes pretentious. It's charming, honest, and moving. I deeply regretted reaching the end of this wonderful book. I would love to read more by him, and this will be one of the few books I read again. I wish I could have bought it as an ebook, though, as it will be travelling with me to Myanmar..... If you only get one non fiction work this year, get this one.
if you are thinking of buying this then please ignore the negative comments below. this book is absolutely brilliant and to read it is a completely humbling experience. it is neither cliched nor egotistical; pascal simply tells *his* story, describing his emotional journey and the difficult choices he had to make along the way.