Burma Chronicles

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

This graphic novel from Guy Delisle is a charming insight into a country notorious for its use of concealment and isolation as social control - where scissors-wielding censors monitor the papers, the de facto leader of the opposition has been under decade-long house arrest, insurgent-controlled regions are effectively cut off from the world, and rumour is the most reliable source of current information.

These short vignettes by Delisle are comedic and warm accounts of a country shrouded in tight governmental secrecy. They tell the story of his being a cartoonist and dad in Burma's capital while his wife ventures off to dangerous locales with Medecins Sans Frontieres. Each vignette reveals a small truth about the city and about life in Burma, charming accounts of a chillingly paranoid social structure.

Characters are well drawn in the micro-strips, ridiculous and bloated or warm and welcoming. Bureaucracy is given a satirical deconstruction and the lives of the ex-pats existing in Burma as businessman or journalists are exposed for their privileged narrow-minded attitude to the country.

The drawings are simple and uncluttered drawing you into an absorbing and charming read about a country of closed doors.

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