Finding George Orwell In Burma
Emma Larkin travels through Burma, talking to lots of people and viewing the country through the prism of Burmese Days, Animal Farm, and 1984. It’s a lively and well-constructed book, and if there’s not much new to say about life under The Generals, that’s unsurprising: lots of writers, including Orwell, crafted an idiom of twentieth century totalitarianism that is very much with us today, so much so that it’s hard to see a very different way to write about it. I do wish we had fresher insight into either Orwell or his novels: I haven’t read them in years, but nothing here surprised me enough to find them again on my shelves. I wish I knew more about those who do quietly support the military regime, but their story must be even harder to uncover than that of the courageous dissident movement.