From Publishers Weekly
Khoo Thwe, born in 1967, debuts with a remarkable portrait of his childhood in Phekhon, "the only Catholic town in Burma," among the Padaung people, a subtribe of the Karenni "known for what outsiders call our `giraffe women' because of their necks being elongated by rings." Modernity seeps into Phekhon slowly-only in 1977 did the locals learn, along with news of Elvis's death, that Americans had landed on the moon. The Catholic and animist fables that the author and his 10 siblings live by would be the emblems of a fairy tale life were it not for the violence and economic crises of the dictatorship of General U Ne Win. Khoo Thwe enters Mandalay University during the years when thousands of student activists were killed or imprisoned by the government. A charismatic student organizer, he is forced in 1988 to flee with fellow students to the jungles on the border of Thailand, where a stay with a Karenni rebel group makes him realize they too were "more interested in claiming leadership than in actually giving lead." But while a student, the author, working as a waiter, met John Casey, a Cambridge don who organized a miraculous rescue of the young man. Khoo Thwe's story ends with his studying English literature at Caius College, Cambridge. It is a heartbreaking tale-he is not able to return to Burma and only meets his family at the Thai border for a few hours years later-told with lyricism, affection and insight. Line illus.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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“A political statement as well as a poetic lament, the book is a true work of art.” (Financial Times)
“A page-turner…deeply moving, beautifully written, and most inspiring. My heart was filled with joy and gratitude.” (Nien Chang, author of Life and Death in Shanghai)
“Rich, vivid and never..cloying...a marvelous book, full of pity, yearning and wisdom.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“A magical story, full of richness and subtlety, told with the instinctive touch of a true writer.” (Mail on Sunday)
“A distinguished accomplishment that radiates both intelligence and spiritual awareness.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“A heartbreaking tale, told with lyricism, affection and insight.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“The best memoir you will read this year.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Unique as much for the riveting story it tells as for the sublime way it is told.“ (Seattle Times)
“[A] writer of uncommon elegance and sensitivity.” (New York Times Book Review)