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Publisher's Summary

A beautiful and poignant story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood.

Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. After attending school in Calcutta, Benny settles in Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, and falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of the country during the Japanese occupation, beginning a journey that will lead them to change the country's history. After the war the British authorities make a deal with the Burman nationalists, led by Aung San, whose party gains control of the country.

When Aung San is assassinated, his successor ignores the pleas for self-government of the Karen people and other ethnic groups and, in doing so, sets off what will become the longest-running civil war in recorded history. Benny and Khin's eldest child, Louisa, has a danger-filled, tempestuous childhood and reaches prominence as Burma's first beauty queen soon before the country falls to dictatorship. As Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family's past, the West's ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

Based on the story of the author's mother and grandparents, Miss Burma is a captivating portrait of how modern Burma came to be and of the ordinary people swept up in the struggle for self-determination and freedom.

©2017 Charmaine Craig (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Miss Burma

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully read, fascinating story

When I see an author is reading an audiobook, I don't expect excellent reading. Writing and voice performance are two distinct skills. Happily, Ms. Craig, an actress as well as writer, is the exception -- and thus we are able to access her author's insight, actor's skill and -- most especially -- daughter's emotional response -- all in this terrific audiobook. A rare find in that respect! Terrific storytelling, both on the page and through the microphone.

5 people found this helpful

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  • 10-29-20

Unexpected

I have been in Thailand working with refugees from Burma for 16 years, so I was excited but apprehensive to read/listen to a book on the region that is so often gotten wrong in literature. I was pleasantly surprised to have such a great balance of real information about the long civil war there enmeshed into a family history that humanizes the cold, ’war story’. At first I was yearning for more of Khin’s voice and perspective, tired of hearing mans side of things but it does show up eventually and I was grateful for that.
Worth a listen and a dive deeper into the politics of the region after, this civil war is not from a bygone era, it is still happening today, the fighting, displacement, military regime, glad that this book may bring more light on that.

2 people found this helpful

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Miss Burma

Charmaine Craig should be nominated for a National Book Award. This book emerges you completely into the lives of Burmese people and their history which I never knew about. It is a wonderful story and the author narrated it perfectly.

2 people found this helpful

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Harrowing experience

I picked up this book because I have never read one book about Burma. I felt that the author really helps readers experience the vivid setting of the country. Loved the performance of the author, but I did take two days to listen because it was quite wordy.

1 person found this helpful

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I appreciate a compelling story without graphic words

This is an unusual story written with unusual words in an unusual time period. The cultures and mores of this place and time are new to most who read this, surely. I found it a lyrical read with the metaphors ending just in time for the characters to be known and the plots to be run.

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I hated it

It is more morose than any book I’ve read on the holocaust . The narration is excellent.

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Stunning, heartbreaking, beautifully written and delivered by the author.

I knew very little about Burma. I learned a great deal from this book. What an achievement for Charmaine Craig this exquisitely written book is.

Another story about the eternal struggles and misery war and the failure of people to recognize their sameness while celebrating their rich cultures and differences.

You will not regret reading or listening this book.

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Charmaines Miss Burma );not about a beauty pageant

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook! The author read it like she loved the subject and was using her favorite paints. The story illuminated a part of the world I had only known from tales from WWII.

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Powerful

A beautifully written book recounting the personal history of a family and of the country of Burma. The struggles of the family give a familiarity of all people. Yet, the details of ethnicity within one country existing on earth give a sense of, well, my ignorance to the plight and heritage of so many. I applaud the author’s honesty concerning the humility of her grandparents and mother. The saint hoods and sins alike give a full picture of their lives. I loved this raw portrait of a family and time in Burma.