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An enjoyable read, but nothing earth-shattering
on 9 September 2015
This book tracks George Orwell's footsteps in Burma, and weaves together stories from Orwell's time, themes from Orwell's writings, and the modern history of Burma. Larkin is a skillful writer, and her depictions of Burma bring the physical aspects of the country to life while also illustrating the unrelenting pressure imposed by the current regime. However, despite being a neophyte to Burmese history, I did not find the book to provide much in the way of insight into the modern history of Burma. I also found some of Larkin's attempts to find relationships Burmese modern histroy with Orwell's works to be strained and contrived (e.g., implicit and explicit suggestions that certain aspects of Animal Farm were based on Orwell's experiences of, or predictions for, Burma). In short, an enjoyable read, but not a must-read.