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Burma Chronicles

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  4,247 ratings  ·  370 reviews
THE POPULAR TRAVELOGUE NOW IN PAPERBACK

From the author of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea and Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China comes Burma Chronicles, an informative look at a country that uses concealment and isolation as social control. It is drawn with Guy Delisle’s minimal line, interspersed with wordless vignettes and moments of his distinctive slapstick humor.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brendon Schrodinger
Burma Chronicles is an autobiographical account of a family who stayed in Burma for one year. The author is married to a worker for Doctors Without Borders and their family gets assigned to work in Burma for one year. While his wife makes trips into the less populated and underprivileged areas of the country, Guy is left back in the city with his very young son and too much time on his hands. He uses this time to do his cartooning, explore the city and get to know the culture a bit more.

The book
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Diane
I like it when travel writers show me a country that I'll probably never see in my lifetime. Burma, also known as Myanmar, has been under military control since a coup in 1962, and it has a reputation of being one of the worst dictatorships on the planet. In 2005, President George W. Bush called Burma one of six "outposts of tyranny," along with North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Zimbabwe and Belarus.

Guy Delisle and his family spent a year living in Burma while his wife worked for Doctors Without Borders
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
So here's what sums up why this book failed to impress me:

Halfway through, Delisle is showing a western journalist/illustrator around Burma/Myanmar. He points out how people carry their umbrellas stuffed into the back of their longyis (or lungis as we call them in India) and also sometimes hanging from the backs of their shirt collars - which he calls 'weird'. I don't know man. Walking through crowded chaotic streets - makes sense you'd want your hands free. But because that's not how they do i
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Paul
What I most love about this book is how political it WASN'T. DeLisle, considering the area he was living in, could have spent this entire book rightfully decrying a horrible and violent government, but instead choose to focus on daily life, the heat, the locals love for his cute baby, the rains, and a hundred other aspects of simple human life. Politics, of course, inevitably come into the mix, but when they do I felt so grounded by the "human" establishment that the politics had actual impact.. ...more
Hadrian
Charming story about life in Burma, one of the most isolated countries on Earth. Some focus on the absurd decisions of the repressive dictatorship, but most of the book is a look at the daily life of the people. Fun anecdotes, and good observational humor. I especially liked the wordless 'tourism' sequences of multiple small panels.
Veeral
Good work. Better than Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. Guy Delisle seems more accepting towards the local culture in Burma Chronicles than what he seemed to be in Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. And I think it’s obvious. He stayed in Pyongyang for only 2 months and his social circle consisted only of other foreigners like him. The only substantial contact he ever had with the locals was with his guides provided by the government of North Korea. So, it was natural that a certain detachm ...more
Kaung Myat Han
Being a Burmese myself, I am always more than willing to lend my pair of ears to what the expatriates have to say about my country, Burma. Of course, this book immediately caught my eye while I was browsing the French section at Kinokuniya Bookstore. It turned out to be so entertaining and gripping that I managed to finish it right at the aisle there within like forty minutes or something, standing and flipping the pages and suppressing my little chuckles. This little French graphic novel(reads ...more
sweet pea
this book's portrait of Burma was interesting, showing a much more modern society than one would expect, as the country is in the grip of a vicious junta. although any problem the people might face pales in comparison the the indignities suffered by the author: lack of air conditioning, inability to get into an exclusive country club, power outages, having to drink Coke, pain in elbow forcing him to play Warcraft all day. the author comes across as a whiny bastard. while his wife works as a doct ...more
Anina
Pretty good. Not as fascinating as "Pyongyang" primarily because the author did not see as many wierd ass dictatorship scenes in Burma as in North Korea.

Malapata
Lo primero que leí de Guy Delisle fue Crónicas de Jerusalén. Había escuchado hablar mucho de él y tenía ganas de leerme alguno de sus cómics, la elección de por cuál empezar fue más fruto de la casualidad que de otra cosa. Y me encantó, me sorprendió su forma de contar las cosas, esa visión neutra del extranjero.

Posiblemente si hubiera leído en primer lugar Crónicas birmanas le habría dado cuatro estrellas en lugar de tres. Pero nunca sabremos si lo que hizo especial a Crónicas de Jerusalén fue
...more
André
Mar 10, 2014 André rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to André by: Laura Stolle
Shelves: not-my-own
I really like the drawing style, so minimalistic, so cute, yet so full of small details. And I love the slightly ironic way of the mono- and dialogues, and I like the way the book consists of little events and pieces and not of a single one long story. This all makes it so realistic. Since I'm going to go to Myanmar in some months as well, I got a little insight into the country (which by now might be a little outdated, as it's already 7 or so years old). What interests me most in descriptions o ...more
Merrikay
Guy Delisle accompanied his wife to Burma while she spent a year as a humanitarian worker there. They also took their son and Delisle functioned as a stay-at-home dad most of the time. He also continued his writing, drawing and animation work, including teaching locals about the art of animation. I found this graphic memoir to be fascinating as he writes about things like shopping in a foreign grocery store, joining a "moms' group" as the only dad, attending expatriate social functions, as well ...more
Jason
Booooooooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrring!
i like Guy Delisle, his nonchalance and his fat middle-class ambivalence for laziness and social action. I like it because it's true; but it doesn't really work as a comedy unless it's truly a displacement of attitudes, placed within an oppressive context. What separates this book from Pyongnang is that he is so out of touch from the suffering, his sarcastic ineffectualism has no basis. It is purely lazy, without being lazy in light of true repressive cir
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Francesca Forrest
A memoir in cartoons of a year spent in Burma in 2005, where his wife was working with MSF France. Some vignettes are totally personal and non-political (at the very beginning, his sticking airport luggage stickers over electrical outlets so his toddler son won't stick his fingers in them; later, coming across pop tarts in a supermarket and remembering the joys of searing your tongue on them, fresh from the toaster), others touch on the repressiveness of the regime there (as when one of the memb ...more
VeganMedusa
Based on Pyongyang and Burma Chronicles, I like this author. This was nice to read a little every day, little snippets of life in Myanmar/Burma. I actually thought that Burma was the old name and now it is Myanmar, but learned from this book that a lot of nations (including US, UK and Australia, not sure of NZ) don't recognize Myanmar and still call it Burma.
I liked seeing him live as a caregiving Dad, going to expat coffee groups. And just trying to buy ink is a major mission. And there were i
...more
PEI Public Library Service
Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle, is the selection for our One Book One Island 2012 http://library.pe.ca/onebook.

While not a regular graphic novel reader, I am no stranger to them either. Delisle charmed me from the first page! This book rolls memoir, travelogue and biography into one appealing package. From his drawings of the departure - what parent can’t relate? - to the early days discovering a new city, Delisle’s perspective as a stay-at-home dad colours each frame. His drawings are simple
...more
Meghan Fidler
Delisle's "Burma Chronicles" is a travel memoir of sorts, a lesson in the history and politics of Myanmar, and a snapshot of both the hope and despair found in the region. Mirroring the hopes for my memoir of time in Suzhou, Delisle does an admiral job in balancing the ugly, the funny, and the mundane aspects of life in another country. I appreciate his honesty and his skill, despite the fact that his style in drawing is not my favored among comix.

Jeff
What is it about Guy Delisle and repressive regimes? Whatever it is, there's no denying that he has the knack for covering these difficult subjects without delivering narratives that are exclusively morbid and depressing. As with previous volumes by the same author, the story is told through an accumulation of small details, and Delisle lets these daily episodes build up into a portrait of a country that seems to have settled into a sense of resignation and accommodation regarding the ruling mil ...more
Blue
Jun 29, 2011 Blue rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Simonetta, Andrea
This could certainly be just a biting commentary on the horrors of dictatorships, but why bother with the funnies, then? Delisle is a a comics artist who blends politics, daily life, and the funnies very well. His observations at times are removed, as he was, in Burma, kind of out of the loop from the political developments. Perhaps some of the funniest moments in the book are his parenting adventures. The world does not need yet another book about the horrors of dictatorships, nor one about the ...more
mkld
Delisle sigue con sus retratos de dictaduras modernas. No puedo explicar mi extraña atracción hacia los regímenes totalitarios, esa curiosidad que me produce la estética y en general la vida bajo un régimen opresor. Será que en este país hace poco que salimos de uno y no llegué a vivirlo.

Así, Crónicas Birmanas sigue la estela de Pyongyang, aunque en mi opinión no llega al nivel, pero quizás es por mi especial fascinacion por Corea del Norte. En este caso, Delisle viaja a Birmania de acompañante
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Luise
"Forced" by the summer reading game wheel to choose a graphic novel, I'm actually starting to warm up to this format. Delisle accompanied his wife (who was employed by the French arm of "Doctors without Borders") to a year-long stint in the highly oppressive country of Burma (Myanmar). While taking care of their toddler and trying to keep his cartooning career going on the side, he gives us a glimpse of everyday life in a poor, oppressive regime. Along with him, we learn a lot about local cultur ...more
Sean
Jul 07, 2009 Sean rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: armchair travellers
Told as a series of animated vignettes, Delisle recounts a year or so of living in Burma (Myanmar) with his wife, a worker for Medicine Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders), and his newborn baby son, Luis.

Between stories telling about his new fatherhood, Delisle wanders Rangoon and occasionally the countryside, interacting with locals and expatriates, and by the end putting together a pretty good picture of what life is like in a country that is inaccessible to most foreigners. Delisle has
...more
Patricia
Delisle's wife works for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), effectively uprooting their family for large chunks of time to foreign countries. As an artist and writer, he allows us to join in the family relocation through brief glimpses of life in Myanmar, or Burma depending on who you ask. His brevity, both in text and in art, lends itself to allow the reader to enjoy both the irony and the sadness in the way of life he finds in his host country. From babysitting his new son to widespread drug addic ...more
Fiza Nasri.
Hal-hal sejarah dan politik Burma, the heat, internet probs, Louis and Maung Aye (somehow saya suka this dude, i think he's funny) and don't treat the fat monk nicely or else you'll get a bad luck thingy-- a fun travelogue indeed, or maybe the best.

Love how he ended the travelogue with the ferris wheel scene.

Will consider Pyongyang and Shenzhen after this.
Eliszard
Occasionally self-indulgent and superficial, but ultimately a self-deprecating and honest depiction of expat life in Burma. The stories get more interesting and the narration tighter and more focused as the book proceeds. The author's interactions with Burmese cartoonists, or the conversation he has with the Brit working for the Malay oil company that took over BP operations ("Things are easier now with Malaysia. Before, there was always some pressure group stepping on our toes") are good exampl ...more
Jennifer Taw
Delisle offers a desultory description of the year he spent in Burma with his family while his wife was stationed there with MSF. There are oblique observations about living in a foreign place, oblique criticisms of the Burmese junta, and oblique pings at the lifestyles of both wealthy Burmese and the ex-patriot community working in the country. In all, a compelling picture emerges of the milieu in which Delisle found himself. It's probably an intentional and philosophical decision to make the b ...more
Simon Chadwick
I’ve enjoyed Guy Delisle’s gag strip books, but hadn’t yet dipped my toe into his travelogues, so thought I’d start with Burma Chronicles as my Grandpa served out there during WW2 as a radar operator. His stories, some of which were shocking, some of which were touching, painted a picture of a country that I couldn’t place in the modern world and certainly not against the news stories of its recent history. This seemed like a good way in, seeing the country through the eyes of a cartoonist as he ...more
Bunnyjadwiga
When my co-worker pressed this on me, I wasn't expecting much-- we had been discussing corrupt post-colonial governments. But in the end I was charmed by Delisle's record of experiences as a work-from-home dad and spouse connected with the aid organizations in Myanmar.

Reviewers say things like 'part travelogue, part memoir, part international criticism' or words to that effect. But what Delisle does is capture both some attractive aspects of life in the country and the frustrations of living und
...more
Sri
Dari 3 chronicles di Asia, ini yang paling kusuka. Mungkin karena Pak Guy bukan cuma tinggal 2 3 bulan tapi setahun di Burma dan karena Pak Guy ngontrak rumah dan bukan tinggal di hotel dan karena Pak Guy di Burma bersama partner hidup dan anaknya yang lucu, Louis, dan karena Pak Guy sempat jalan-jalan di desa-desa Burma, travelogue yang ini lebih menarik daripada dua yang sebelumnya.
Pak Guy banyak berinteraksi dengan masyarakat lokal bahkan menjadi guru animasi bagi penduduk lokal yang tertarik
...more
Giacomo
Dec 03, 2008 Giacomo rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people whio liked Persepolis, graphic-novel readers, or pretty much everyone else
Recommended to Giacomo by: Amazon's "other people who bought this also bought..."
Well-written, DeLisle maintains a light tone through the entire book despite the astonishing conditions of the country he's in. Everything feels very real, but the author is very good at finding the funny side in all the absurdities around him. Definitely better than Joe Sacco, it never reaches "Maus"-like levels, but if you liked "Persepolis" you'll enjoy this as well.
If only we had more English-language editions of stuff like this!
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Born in Quebec, Canada, Guy Delisle studied animation at Sheridan College. Delisle has worked for numerous animation studios around the world, including CinéGroupe in Montreal.

Drawing from his experience at animation studios in China and North Korea, Delisle's graphic novels Shenzen and Pyongyang depict these two countries from a Westerner's perspective. A third graphic novel, Chroniques Birmanes,
...more
More about Guy Delisle...
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea Chroniques de Jérusalem Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting Albert and the Others

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“Actually, the Burmese don't refer to her by name. They just call her "The Lady." It's like Voldemort in Harry Potter, "He Who Must Not Be Named.” 10 likes
“Ouch, my butthole hurts, but I really need to have a look at that firestation.” 1 likes
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