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Burma Chronicles

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  10,339 ratings  ·  775 reviews
'Burma Chronicles' presents a personal and distinctively humorous glimpse into a political hotspot, putting a popular spin on current affairs.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Jonathan Cape (first published October 17th 2007)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  10,339 ratings  ·  775 reviews

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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
B 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
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I always thought Burma was a small agrarian economy somewhere in East Asia. Dependent on rice and agriculture and subject to monsoons.

Maybe it was the medium of the book - graphic novel - or it was the easy way in which the author describes his experiences with Medicins Sans Frontiers in the country that got me.

The story lays bare the extreme censorship of freedom including those of human rights.

“ When mines caved in the Govt simply covered them without even thinking about rescuing the miners
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
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Delisle manages to capture for us what a non-working foreigner not proficient in the local languages would perceive during his/her time in Rangoon. The heat. I'd always wondered about it. Delisle said his level of tolerance improved over the year he stayed there, so that he could stand up to 90degF before turning on the air conditioner, while when he'd arrived, 80degF was his limit.

Delisle's wife works as a physician for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International as a physician, and this time
Gorab Jain
Funny bits in the beginning, slowly moving into daily life in Burma.
Lots of insight on Burma culture (and many cultural shocks) from an obliterated country!
No idea how much of it really portrays Burma in true light. But kudos to the author for being candid even about the controversial political topics.
Feels like firsthand experience of an adventurous stay in Burma!!
Will surely check out his other travelogues.
Wish he visits India and writes this kind of a fun travelogue :)
Tom LA
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an autobiographical account of the author’s stay in Myanmar for 1 year in 2007, as his wife was stationed there while working as an administrator for Doctors Without Borders.

I’ve also read Jerusalem and PyongYang by the same author, and they have the same great qualities and the same flaws.

Qualities - well, first of all, I love the comic format as a medium. It has the potential (almost never realized of course) to convey meaning by packing a lot of information in a single panel or an i
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Archit Ojha
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Poignant and melancholic. Penetrates the heart. Good work. Loved the illustrations.

Recommended to graphic novel readers.
sweet pea
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-content
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
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
With a lot of information and visuals to absorb, it took me three weeks to actually get this book read thoroughly and I'm happy picking it up at least.

I love Guy Delisle's Parenting book. You could get a sense that he is a very good story-telling and has keen eyes for a good observer. This graphic travelogue, apart from the content, doesn't change his perception and charms. Delisle accompanied his wife, who is an MSF managing doctor (aka Doctors Without Borders) and their two year-old son, Louis
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
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-books
There are so many beautiful graphic novels out there. It's a bit difficult to get hands on the ones I cherish. But it's good that some of them are available O:)

Guy Delisle's travelogue comics are interesting. This is the second book I am reading in a row sketched by him. This one is about his almost one year's stay in Burma in 2008 during the dictatorship regime. Aung Saan Suu Kyi was still under house arrest. Oh I learnt, some countries like USA, UK, Australia, Canada etc. still refer the coun
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
The author chronicles his time in Burma/Myanmar. His wife has been sent there by Doctors Without Borders – France. He is a stay at home dad, working on his cartoon books including this graphic presentation of his stay in Burma.

Delisle draws images of daily life. There are representations of architecture, the constant heat, the polluted water, snakes, mosquito netting etc. There are social events, searches for working internet connections, attempts to see or reach Aung San Suu Kyi, and monks who
A Man Called Ove
2.5/5 Didnt like the author's style of narration. All about himself. Virtually no conversations with the Burmese. No attempt to understand their POV or how they felt about things.
Secondly, have read a bit about Burma in Theroux and Pico Iyer's travelogues and felt they were better.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This graphic novel is really problematic for me. It can be funny and informative (as it is travel memoir in the form of graphic novel). But for me author tends to be little bit xenophobic when it comes to people who live in Burma. Ok I get it, it was written for western people, but still I don't find it necessary to laugh about other people customs and habits.

It seems I haven't seen or realised it while reading his novel "Pyongyang". I need to try other graphic novels by this author to see if i
Mursalin Mosaddeque
The illustrations are simple and delightful. He manages to portray the tumultuous and sketchy state of a nation without being condescending or tone deaf.
Marc Weidenbaum
Feb 15, 2013 added it
Shelves: comic
Guy Delisle's Burma book is definitely recommended. He's much more comfortable with his tools than he was in his North Korea book, and I really enjoyed that one. The scenario here has less inherent drama, because the situation is less politically dire, even though matters of life and death are closer at hand (his wife works for Doctors Without Borders, or something like it). One thing the book benefited from over his North Korea one is he's much more comfortable making fun of himself, especially ...more
Guy DeLisle's not too in depth, graphic travelogue about his one-year-stay in Burma/Myanmar.

I like this book a little bit better than the one about Pyongyang. He still complains about the food and gets people into embarrassing/dangerous situations, but he appears to be much more aware and thoughtful.

Every now and then, he mixes in little historical/cultural facts which I enjoy a lot. Absolutely would have liked to see more of those.

The short "chapters" every few pages are confusing at times, t
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a delightful read! Guy Delisle has chronicled his stay in Burma so well you almost feel like you're on a trip. A very good book to get started with if you're interested in different cultures around the world. Delisle has illustrated nearly everything - his day to day adventures, some isolated incidents, little feel as though you're exploring Burma alongside him. Pick it up and go visit a new country sometime!
Indrani Sen
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: burma
Very very highly recommended to all my friends.

I have read exactly two graphic novels so far -Persepolis and this. Both have been mindblowing. This one gave me a virtual tour of Burma/Myanmar, a country about which I know shockingly little. The distinctly non-judgemental humorous tone and superb sketches helped tremendously. I would definitely be re-reading this as I am sure many gems got missed on the first read.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my first book by Delisle so I can`t say that the others are much better than this one.

I lived in a foreign country for 5 years now so I found quite interesting & fascinating to see glimpses of real life from the exotic Myanmar.
My first book by the author and perhaps my first book on Burma.
Enjoyed the read and the sketches , but I feel that author could have included more information on Burma and Burmese way of life.
A quick, informative read..

Why I chose the book ?

Needed a book set in neighbouring country , for a bookopoly challenge , and this was suggested by Indrani.
Nada Elfeituri
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Normally I don't like to read about different countries, cultures and people through the eyes of a Western author, and this book confirms my rule. Delisle explores Myanmar with the sensitivities of a first-world native; that is, shock and confusion at the lack of basic services or inavailability of luxury items. While it's amusing to read about, in a dark comedy sort of way, it can be tiresome for people who already live in these kinds of conditions.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
The cartoonist, his wife and son move to Myanmmar when his wife, who works for Doctors Without Borders, is posted there for a year. In that year, the cartoonist looks after their son, Louis, and shares his daily life with us through his strips. His depiction of everyday Burmese life, from the morning jaunts by the monks seeking alms, to the frequent power outage, government censorship, government corruption and nepotism, expat life, developing local friends and Burmese culture.

He's provided a v
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Interesting because you learn about Burma. Annoying because the whole book seems to be more about Delisle than the country and the people in it. Even his wife only has a very marginal role in the comic, even when they are on trips together. I think his work will improve when he focuses less on himself and more on the world around him.
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reviewing as a Burmese here, in 2020..

As a person who grew up under the regime, I find his depictions to be very accurate and his point of view, very funny. This illustrated book brings back all the nostalgia. Growing up at the rise of the regime, we are very conditioned to the life of censorship, state-agenda newspaper, big-brother styled life. But, for us, it didn't seem all that bad. And, to address some concerns in other reviews here.. yes, a country like that exists. But, it was the conditi
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delisle presents himself as a tag-along, as his wife is doing work in Myanmar with MSF. They also bring their young child. The year long stay is presented through short stories, usually between one and four pages, showing either a specific event that happens, or his impression of an element of the local culture.

This is a very charming book, where Delisle manages to both lovingly describe a society that is alien to him (often making himself the butt of the jokes), while also showing several of th
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 we ...more
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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,

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