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Book of the Month and Book Club Selections
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The Participant Observer Book of the Month is Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

A beautiful and poignant story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood.

Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. In Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, Benny, a member of Rangoon's sizable Jewish community, falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of Burma. After the family undergoes the fear and danger of the Japanese occupation, it is somehow fitting that their eldest child, Louisa (based on the author's mother), is chosen to represent the Union of Burma when she is crowned "Miss Burma" in 1956. Louisa's mixed-race beauty turns her body into a living symbol of hope and integration in a country that is otherwise falling apart. As Burma slides into military dictatorship and Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family's past, the West's ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

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