Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Burmese Lessons: A true love story Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 18, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Karen Connelly’s passionate and poetic memoir begins with her arrival in Burma in 1996 at the age of 27. Brash, naïve and bubbling with confidence, she is enchanted by the country, but also determined to ‘catch at least a glimpse of the truth—something beyond the beautiful images that are so readily available to the foreign eye’ . . . . Burmese Lessons is an intimate account of a country, a relationship and a man—all three of which remain elusive.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Burmese Lessons is a polished, literary memoir that includes, along the way, an account Burma's turbulent history. . . . Ms. Connelly is a hugely engaging writer. Burma itself—as Ms. Connelly well knows—is rather more complicated than one difficult love affair.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Connelly isn't a hard-nosed journalistic observer. She’s intelligent and curious, also emotional, self-deprecating, openhearted. When she meets Maung, a handsome Burmese dissident, at a Christmas party in Chiang Mai, she begins a passionate and complicated cross-cultural romance. We know things can't end well, but we're with Connelly all the way on this journey. There's no resisting.”
"[A] heartbreaking romance set among the temples and verdure of Southeast Asia."
—The Seattle Times
"A generous dollop of poetic chick lit combines surprisingly well with criticism of Burma's half-century of bloody dictatorship in Canadian Karen Connelly's Burmese Lessons."
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A sensually acute writer, Connelly describes the lush pleasures of losing oneself in a romantic, foreign place, but also details the bitter act of renunciation involved in realizing that her lover belonged not to her but to the larger struggle for Burmese democracy.”
“Karen Connelly has given her heart to Asia. I bow in gratitude to this writer whose love story is personal and political — and true.”
—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Fifth Book of Peace
“Burmese Lessons is a tour de force. At once beautiful literature, an intimate account of a moving journey, a nuanced portrait of another country, a complex yet quietly honest reportage, this book is also a page turner. It will, I believe, become a classic in the new genre that mixes personal memory with public events.”
—Susan Griffin, author of A Chorus of Stones and Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy
"Weaving a poignant personal love story within a larger cultural tapestry of Myanmar circa 1996, Canadian poet, memoirist, and novelist Connelly delivers a lyrical look at a country in the throes of a deeply pernicious military dictatorship.... Connelly writes eloquently of having given her heart to Asia."
"Putting both her safety and heart on the line, Connelly renders deft passages on sexual longing and satiation that help anchor the book’s harsh sociopolitical themes. Burmese Lessons examines Burma’s tumultuous climate and nuanced cultural ethos with colorful prose and gritty self-reflection.
"Treading the boundary between romance and politics, Connelly presents an evocative account of passionately living the revolution, shedding light on those who give everything to the cause, and those who love them. Piercing and raw."
“Burmese Lessons shows us more than a place, or a person in a place: it shows us a way to be in the world: open, seeing, breathing, awake.... In virtually every encounter, Connelly shows us that there is no escaping the political: the reach of the regime is pervasive and poisonous. The political is there in the personal.... This is the greatest lesson in Burmese Lessons, and the most important moment: the realization that the whole history of Burma is reflected in every individual life. The small story is the Bigger Picture.”
—Literary Review of Canada
"Haunting and poetic.... Connelly fans will be enthralled."
—Quill & Quire
“The recounting, re-imagining, of Connelly’s immersion in the mid-90s [in Burma and Thailand] reveals a brave, even foolhardy, idealistic, beautiful young woman utterly seduced, co-opted, transformed by Burmese culture….”
—Globe and Mail
"Connelly compels admiration for her brave intrusions into dangerous and awkward situations, and above all for her candour."
Top Customer Reviews
In bits and pieces, we get the history of Burma and the revolutionary dissidents, as well as an overview of the various rebel groups, representatives, and artists/ writers who have been imprisoned and tortured by the regime for their efforts at shedding light on the brutalities occurring in their homeland. Connelly interviews several of these people throughout the course of the novel. She has an insider's view into the underground in which the dissidents move; she soon realizes, however, that she is naive as to the delicate workings and history of this world in ways she did not realize.
She meets Maung, a leader of one of the dissident groups, who has pledged his life to the cause. The two fall in love, and for the majority of the novel, the story moves back and forth from the larger scope of the Burmese struggle to the more intimate world of Karen and Maung's budding love.
The writing is diamond-like, hard and brilliant, and spares nothing. Scenes of torture and brutality are described unflinchingly; there is nothing watered down here. This is what makes it effective at what the author intended-- to bring Burma to life, to expose the effects of a military regime on ordinary people, to juxtapose a passionate, sweet love affair with the bitter realities of living in refugee jungle camps, malaria, war, and death.
The one shortcoming, for me, was that this relentless honesty carried into the very intimate relationship between Karen and Maung.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Karen Connelly is a brilliant writer, one who makes me want to set down my keyboard and weep because I don't think I'll ever be as good. Read morePublished on May 14, 2013 by Aud
loved it as much as i loved the Lizard Cage. Really an engaging read and great story. Connelly puts her heart and soul and leaves nothing out.Published on January 17, 2013 by D. Woodward
Burmese Lessons: A true love story
Flawed by its addiction to a fictional image of life in contemporary Myanmar, Connelly's work is plausible as a "true love story. Read more
I was ready to give up on this book. I found the author full of herself. We learn how difficult it is for her to be taken seriously because of her youth and beauty. Read morePublished on February 5, 2011 by Doran Blue
This book had great educational value for me. I felt as though I went on the journey with the author, saw what she saw, felt what she felt. Read morePublished on November 11, 2010 by Ken C.
I could not finish this book. I absolutely loved The Lizard Cage by this author, a devastatingly honest novel about a Burmese political prisoner. Read morePublished on August 17, 2010 by T. Grayum
Every aspect of the book is interesting and Connelly tells the story perfectly for those who are politically or sociologically inclined to read this book.Published on July 11, 2010 by Christy Leigh Stewart
Karen Connelly interweaves the emotional, political, and literary strands of her story in a pleasing and satisfying way. Read morePublished on July 2, 2010 by Ann M. Kerr
Connelly's experience, and her telling of it, is courageous, eloquent, wise, honest, and powerful. To be so externally focused and at the same time so personally engaged is a... Read morePublished on June 20, 2010 by Sarah Saffian