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Orwell is one of my favourite authors & was always ahead of his time as this book reveals. Read 1984 for example. This book relates to his time as a policeman in Burma & how the experience changed his life. The topic is relevant today as it revolves around racism, authority & the police. Although written in c1932, so the format seems dated, the message it conveys is for today. Loved it. I haved visited Burma (Myanmar) and after reading this, want to go back.
This is a great book by George Orwell. At the beginning he writes about the attitudes of the British towards the natives of Burma in almost an amusing way - as if they were caricatures but then the book gets deeper and becomes really sad and a is chilling indictment of the British Raj in Burma and their utter snobbery and racism. At that time black lives didn't matter a jot to the Raj.
Institutionalised racism by the colonials provides both the context and the driving force for most of the characters. Our "hero" - if that's the right word - at least puts up some token resistance. When push comes to shove, though, he is also found to be wanting.
Orwell's own experiences in Burma add authenticity to his description of some pretty vapid lifestyles.
I'm torn between four and five stars, so my rating errs on the generous side.
I found this book highly entertaining. George Orwell’s account of life in Burma for the English settlers has incidents that depict the dishonesty, ignorance and amazing unearned social superiority in which these white men hold high positions which dominate the indigenous Burmese. The latter hold them in high esteem for no appreciable reason. There is a pervading hilarity throughout the book. The dissipated English and the servile Burmese combine in a world long gone (surely). There are tragedies. A Burmese boy loses his eyesight for showing what looks like contempt for a bullying officer and a man commits suicide on account of a girl he loves who doesn’t want him. The best book I have enjoyed in a long time. It is hard hitting and colourful with never a dull moment
Orwell invokes the spell of the orient well, he has put his personal experiences in Burma’s to good use. An excellent author giving value for money. The main characters of the saga are beautifully drawn. It captured my attention to the very last page.
As others have said, Orwell was perfectly placed to write about the realities of British colonialism as he was himself part of it. It is easy to imagine Orwell's growing sense of disillusionment when surrounded by the kind of characters that attended the 'Club'. But Orwell also writes very descriptively and seemed to be particularly fond of the nature that he encountered while in Burma, making this book not just a damnation of colonial life, but also an evocative memoir of rural Burma. As ever, Orwell's lucid style of writing makes this book approachable to those that have not read any of his work. I would recommend it to just about anybody.
Didn't enjoy this as much as I expected. Seems obviously his first book, a bit of a mish mash of love story, story of an ex-pats decline, and a bit about Burma. The racism, and Orwell's disgust at it, are clear. Perhaps best read as a portrayal of the 30s colonial mindset - which I guess is what he intended!
Burmese Days paints a very grim picture of colonial life in the early 20th century. Orwell obviously dislikes his fellow British compatriots - they are shown to be lazy, corrupt, racist and immoral. However his opinion of the Burmese is not much better, leading one to suppose that his time with the Indian Imperial Police must have been very miserable.
This is very much a book with no heroes - each character is flawed. The main protagonist is Flory, a timber merchant. He lives a fairly peaceful (if dissolute) life but when a young English woman appears in the town he hopes to encourage her into marriage. He casts aside his Burmese mistress without a thought - an action that will come back to haunt him. Elizabeth's guardians have Flory in mind as a suitor but he in turn is painfully cast aside when the aristocratic Verrell arrives.
Throughout the book Orwell describes the lack of respect shown to the native people. Much of the language used in the dialogue is (to the modern reader) shocking but understandable. However I was much less comfortable with his general descriptions. The butler at the club is described as having liquid yellow-irised eyes "like those of a dog" and a woman is described as "simian".
The narrative flows at a good pace and there are some episodes of real excitement. Burmese Days offers a vivid and unsentimental picture of a lost era.
I love the stories by HE Bates. Always beautifully written, often with an emotionally sad feeling throughout his more serious stories. These are usually at a slower pace than many of today's authors, but if you like emotional, moving tales with lovely indepth descriptions that paint a vivid picture in your mind, then this book and many more of his novels will delight you.