Book Review: Burmese Daze

French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle’s Asian travelogue navigates culture shock with a keen eye.

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In 2005, French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle spent a year living in Burma with his wife, a Medecins Sans Frontieres administrator, and their toddler son. Burma Chronicles explores the absurdities and anxieties of life in the military dictatorship, from asking the government-run Internet provider to stop blocking (and presumably reading) emails to suddenly realizing that an innocuous comment made to a Western journalist could land a Burmese friend in jail. Delisle is constantly trying to burst through his expat bubble, whether he’s sneaking a peek at his neighbor Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, traveling into the countryside without a permit, hanging out at the local Buddhist monastery, or quietly teaching computer animation classes. As in his previous Asian travelogues, Pyongyang and Shenzhen, Delisle navigates politics and culture shock with a keen eye and gentle humor.

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