The Road to Rangoon

Getting to Rangoon

Rangoon by Lucy Cruickshanks. Car transport by road Meiktila-Toungoo-Rangoon southbound to Rangoon. There' s a burnt-out Japanese truck on the side of the road. In British times, this city was called Rangoon. Rangoon to Mandalay road.

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There are far too many textbooks in the whole wide web to ever have the chance to study them all, and I don't want to spend so much of my life with those I may not like. I' m generally avoiding historic clichés, especially when the plot focuses on a distant battle, but that has attracted my interest, and I'm so happy that it was a gripping and atmospherical reading that has captivated me entirely, while at the same times enlightening me about post-war Vietnam.

A few years forward and I confess that beyond the finding that I occasionally enjoyed this kind of novel, I reverted to my little universe of recording volumes within the same genre that I always had from the same writers that I have always had. Took Lucy's second novel to make me remember that there was more out there and to get out of my comfy area, this year to be moved to Burma in the 80s.

Lucy has once again authored a well-researched novel to produce a heartbreaking and poignant tale about the life of various individuals who collide in the midst of the horrors and confusions of a civil war. Thuza Win, who was still a kid when her folks were beat up before her and taken away, is one of the persons who got busted by the terrible deeds.

Those who took her folks also struck her mouth and now she is known among the natives as Naga-Ma, Snake. Trying not to be disturbed by the natives, she instead concentrates on trafficking Ruby across the borders to help her rebels' brothers and saving enough to get to Rangoon and rescue her family.

Last ly, there is Michael, daughter of the UK embassador to Rangoon. When he is hit by a bomb attack in the town, he makes a find that causes his own lives to collide disastrously with those of Thuza and Than. Thuza' s family is released, Tan's advancement and Michael's discoveries are published, and all three have their own agendas as they draw up a scheme to help them get what they want.

And I don't make graphic representations of those who are tormented and suffer well, and there were many of them in The Road to Rangoon. I sometimes felt uneasy when I read it, but it also contributed to the truthfulness of the tale, and I know that without it this work would not have had the effect it had on me.

In the 1980s, the decisions the Burmese had to make were terrible and most of the times there was no clear right or injustice, there was just something to do to surviv. Humans like Thuza and Than would have been the evil ones under all other conditions, but they often made the only possible decision in tricky situation in the hope that the end would warrant the means.

At first I didn't like any of the people except maybe Michael, but despite the horrible things they did, Lucy Cruickshanks did an amazing piece of work and made me realize why the people had to make these tough decisions, to the point where I began to like them.

It has an unbelievable way of conveying the viewer into a distant environment that is so foreign to the outside so much because of our blissful West vision that it almost seems like mere cliché. What makes this novel so disturbing, however, is of course that the history is deeply ingrained in facts and that the incidents that the protagonists are suffering have really occurred to many Myanmar citizens; whether they were on the side of the regime or the rebels or not, no one would have come out unharmed.

It is mad to see that all this has happened only recently, and similar practice still exists in other parts of the globe. It is very simple to turn a blind eye to the horror that is beyond our own limits, but these are much needed eye-openers. Rangoon is not an easily accessible road, not for the character or the reader, but terrible, intense and heartbreaking.

Not an entertaining novel in the truest meaning of the word, but it is a gripping and illuminating novel, and the strong storyline inside is so impressive that it remains with the readers long after they have turned the last page.

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