Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Burmese Days

I was travelling through Burma last year and thought (unoriginally it seems) it would be a good opportunity to read George Orwell's "Burmese Days - readily available from streetside hawkers for a dollar or two (one of the pleasures of south east asian travel).

Burmese Days was Orwell's first novel and (like "1984" but to a lesser extent) reads like an auto-biography of sorts - Orwell served in the Indian Imperial Force of Burma for 5 years in the 1920s before his return to London to become a writer.

The book itself is set in a minor outpost of the British Empire, with the colonial administrators grappling with the heat, boredom and political machinations of the natives using techniques ranging from racial superiority, brutal suppression and excessive alcohol consumption.

Like most of Orwell's books you won't find yourself feeling uplifted by the time you've finished reading it, but it is an interesting companion piece for anyone wandering through Myanmar as it slowly opens up to the modern world.

E-books of Burmese Days can be found here and here.