Burma Sahib

Burma Sahib


'This novel is one of his finest in a long and redoubtable oeuvre' William Boyd, New York Times

From renowned author Paul Theroux comes a fascinating, atmospheric novel inspired by George Orwell's years in Burma

There is a short period in everyone's life when his character is fixed forever . . . ' George Orwell

Eric Blair stood out amongst his fellow police trainees in 1920s Burma. Nineteen years old, unusually tall, a diffident loner fresh from Eton, after five years spent in the narrow colonial world of the Raj – a decaying system steeped in overt racism and petty class-conflict – he would emerge as the George Orwell we know.

Drawing on all his powers of observation and imagination, Paul Theroux brings Orwell's Burma years to radiant life, tracing the development of the young man's consciousness as he confronts the social, racial and class politics and the reality of Burma beyond. Through one writer, we come to understand another - and see how what Orwell called 'five boring years within the sound of bugles' were in fact the years that made him.

‘Thoroughly enjoyable . . . [Theroux’s] approach is like that of a skilful, subtle barrister who patiently lays out his evidence, gradually ensnaring the reader’ Times Literary Supplement

'Always a terrific teller of tales and conjurer of exotic locales' Sunday Times

'The most gifted, most prodigal writer of his generation' Jonathan Raban


  • Remarkable . . . Theroux, of course, has a parallel reputation as one of our greatest travel writers, and the Burma that he conjures in these pages is wonderfully present in lush and dense prose
    William Boyd, New York Times

About the author

Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux has written many works of fiction and travel writing, including the modern classics The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, My Secret History and The Mosquito Coast. He won the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing 2020. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.
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