by Guy Delisle

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

In this graphic novel, Guy Delisle chronicles the year he spent in Burma when his wife worked there for Doctors Without Borders. He gives us diverse glimpses of day-to-day life in Southeast Asia under an incredibly repressive regime. His experiences range from the mundane -- taking care of his baby son and meeting the neighborhood moms  --  to the political and potentially dangerous -- negotiating roadblocks and government channels to visit his wife’s work sites. He includes interesting cultural experiences, such as meeting other local cartoonists, doing a meditation retreat at a local monastery, and trying to get a look at the house of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who lives in his neighborhood.

Delisle’s style is somewhat understated, but appealing. It has the cuteness of a comic strip with more sophisticated drawings and stories. Even the truly disturbing events and issues he covers – such as the disappearance of a man he knows, forced labor, the drug trade, and the AIDS epidemic – are easier to read about in this form. I found the Burma Chronicles to be an enjoyable read that also taught me more about life in Burma and the realities and politics of providing international aid.

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