Min Lin is the American son of a man who left Burma. All his life, he heard stories about the country his father walked away from, and in 1988, he found his chance to visit. What started as a weeklong visit to take pictures soon became an overstayed visa, a spur-of-the-moment proposal, and an involvement in revolution that became a deadly case of mistaken identity.
I know very little about Burma (the country that would, during the events of the novel, become Myanmar). Most of my knowledge comes from listening to the news and hearing stories about political turmoil. Gawthorp’s novel is an attempt to bring light to one of the many seeds of that turmoil, and also to show the beauty of the country. It’s written from a place of deep love, and it’s clear Gawthorp has done extensive research.
Unfortunately, that research gets in the way of the story. Most of what happens is told to the readers rather than shown to them. I could not get as swept up in the setting or the story as I wished. People may enjoy this book more if they already have an interest in the history and politics of the region.
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