Burma Sahib

Burma Sahib

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

From renowned author Paul Theroux comes the fascinating, atmospheric tale of George Orwell's years in Burma


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

Before George Orwell was Orwell - the pen name he took on becoming a writer - he was Eric Blair, an unlikely policeman in Burma. 19 years old, unusually tall, highly intelligent, a diffident loner fresh from Eton, Blair stood out amongst his fellow trainees in 1920s Mandalay.

It was here, over five years in the narrow colonial world of the Raj - a decaying system steeped in overt racism and petty class-conflict - that Eric Blair became the George Orwell we know: an anti-imperialist, a socialist and a writer of rare commitment.

The inner journey he made in these years is remarkable, but in the absence of letters or diaries from the period, this richly complex transformation can only be told in fiction, as it is here by Paul Theroux, in one of his most striking and accomplished novels.

Drawing on all his powers of observation and imagination, Theroux brings Orwell's Burma years to radiant life, tracing the development of the young man's consciousness as he confronts both the social, racial and class politics of his colonial colleagues, and the reality of the Burma beyond, which he yearns to grasp.

Through one writer, we come to understand another - and to see how what Orwell called 'five boring years within the sound of bugles' were in fact the years that made him.

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

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


©2024 Paul Theroux (P)2024 Penguin Audio

Reviews

  • Remarkable . . . this novel is one of his finest in a long and redoubtable oeuvre . . . 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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