Beauty queen to rebel leader.
The story, based on the life of the author’s grandparents (Benny and Khin) and mother (Louisa), is set during the mid-twentieth century when Burma was occupied firstly by Japan during the Second World War, then amid a civil war. The struggle of the Karen people for autonomy with Burma is the background of this family’s story.
“Khin had seen him before, the young officer (an Anglo-Indian?). She had noticed his hands, strong and clenched by his sides, and the restless way he charged from one end of the seaport to the other, as if he were trying to expend something combustible within him.”
“Your problem is that you believe in right and wrong. Don’t you know evil will find you no matter what?”
“… this feeling that it was wrong for anyone to claim exclusive rights to a corner of the earth – wrong for no other reason than that everyone was passing. And the inner child in her – the mixed breed, raceless, rootless little girl who had been homeless in just this place – knew what it was like to be rebuffed by some who temporarily had more and taken in by others who had long had less. The paradox was that she was suddenly sure that Burma’s most beautiful feature was its multiplicity of peoples.”~From “Miss Burma” by Charmaine Craig
- The Guardian: “The story is partly based on the experiences of Craig’s family and, if heavy on the history at times, is highly readable, with sensitively drawn characters who are struggling for survival and freedom.”
- Washington Independent Review of Books: A haunting story of Myanmar’s fraught, bloody past. With Miss Burma, Charmaine Craig accomplishes something many historical novelists do not: the successful depiction of great sweeps of momentous events along with intimate scenes that linger over the most minor, evocative details.