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Burma Chronicles Paperback – December 7, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

DeLisle's (Pyongyang) latest exploration of Asian life is probably the best possible argument against the ruling junta in the embattled (and now nearly obliterated) nation also known as Myanmar. Readers will find themselves initially shocked and surprised at the country's differences, then awestruck by the new traditions and finally in love with and yet enraged by Burmese daily life. DeLisle's wife is a French aid worker with Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), leaving DeLisle alone with their son, Louis, and his cartooning. DeLisle's style is simple but highly eloquent, and he tells more about the depth and breadth of the Burmese experience in the book's little nonfiction vignettes than he ever could in an artificially imposed narrative. Burma Chronicles is not merely a neat piece of cartooning but a valuable artifact of a repressive and highly destructive culture that curtails free speech with unparalleled tenacity. Like Joe Sacco's The Fixer and Safe Area Gorazde, DeLisle uses cartooning to dig into a story that demands to be told. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

In previous graphic memoirs, Delisle, a Qu�b�cois animator, has documented in spare, whimsical black-and-white line drawings his visits to North Korea and China. Here, he turns his hand to another authoritarian Asian regime, Burma, where he spent a year after the 2004 tsunami with his wife and their infant son. Drawn with charming simplicity and brio, the book mixes traditional travelogue with glimmers of the unexpected, as when Delisle notes that in the local newspaper �some articles contain nothing but a list of officials present at a given event,� or discovers a lit light bulb placed in a drawer to keep paper dry during monsoon season. Delisle takes a whimsical approach but also logs political realities�the increasing difficulty of getting travel permits for humanitarian work, the abrupt banishment of foreign videos from stores.
Copyright ©2008 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; Reprint edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781770460256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460256
  • ASIN: 177046025X
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loyd A. Boldman on February 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Delise's richest book yet, and probably his most detailed. It's another travel journal, similar to Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea and Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China, this time with a Doctors Without Borders-style group in Burma. Even though his drawings are deliciously simple and compact, with his pen, Delise evokes a real sense of place and the culture, character, and quirks of the people. I love his work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once I started this book, I couldn't stop sneaking off to read it. It actually sucked me in and my whole world for 3 days was Burma, in black and white,

Not much else to say except that it is really like a blog with drawings and humor peppered here and there. Very easy to digest, and would be a great addition to any PoliSci course or literature course looking to go multi-modal or just change it up a bit.

I loved the fact that the hardcover does NOT have a (useless and gratuitous) dustjacket. The image that would be on the dustjacket is actually the hard cover.
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Format: Paperback
.... to have 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 3/23/2014)
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Format: Paperback
After I read Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle, I wanted to read more of his graphic fiction. This past weekend I read Burma Chronicles (translated by Helge Dascher), which tells the story of Delisle's time in Myanmar with his wife Nadège, who works for Médecins Sans Frontières, and their infant son Louis.

I did not find Burma Chronicles as amusing as Pyongyang. For one, the subject matter in the North Korea graphic novel was already well known to me and even though I had not yet visited the North Korean capital I was still rolling around in laughter. Another reason that Burma Chronicles was not as funny was that it centred on Delisle's uneventful life in Myanmar while his doctor wife was out in the field living a life of adventure. I found Burma Chronicles in many instances a boring read. What made Pyongyang such a riot was reading Delisle's comic asides as well as his insetted comics-within-a-comic as he tries in vain to deal with North Korean bureaucracy. There is a sizable chunk of red tape to deal with in Myanmar, but one can cut through this red tape with blunt kiddie scissors. The red tape in North Korea needs a blade sharp enough to cut through diamonds.

Burma Chronicles was funny in Delisle's account of how the country's right-hand drive vehicles had to change, overnight, to driving on the right side of the road. The illustrations of right-hand right-lane driving were hilarious. In Myanmar's humid conditions, Delisle's illustrations portray himself as sweating away twice his body weight in perspiration each day. Truly a destination where air conditioning is a must, everywhere there is a generator and an outlet.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very eye opening about daily life in Burma at the time, some of the struggles the NGO and aid organisations go through to bring basic services to the rural populations and how people cope on a day to day basis with the repressive regime. It also showed a turnabout in the gender roles where the husband moved his life to support his wife in her career which is not usually the case. I found that Guy was a little bit of a complainer and at times was irritating, especially when he showed the importance and challenges of the work his wife did. I liked the cartooning style, it was very effective in conveying the tone of what was going on. It is a very good book and I would recommend it.
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