Northern Illinois University Press

Have Fun in Burma

A Novel

Rosalie Metro

"[This is] a rare 'finding yourself' travel story done right, gently relating the grit and discomfort of a truly expanding consciousness." —Foreword Reviews

“Rosalie Metro has written an evocative novel of modern Myanmar that deserves to be recognized as one of the pieces of literature that will help to both explain and define the country's current transition. She writes with authority about the country's politics and about Buddhist practice, drawn from her own experience but also from her keen and sensitive observations.” —Matthew J. Walton, University of Oxford

Adela Frost wants to do something with her life. When a chance encounter and a haunting dream steer her toward distant Burma, she decides to spend the summer after high school volunteering in a Buddhist monastery. Adela finds fresh confidence as she immerses herself in her new environment, teaching English to the monks and studying meditation with the wise abbot. Then there’s her secret romance with Thiha, an ex-political prisoner with a shadowy past.

But when some of the monks express support for the persecution of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, Adela glimpses the turmoil that lies beneath Burma’s tranquil surface. While investigating the country’s complex history, she becomes determined to help stop communal violence. With Thiha’s assistance, she concocts a scheme that quickly spirals out of control. Adela must decide whether to back down or double down, while protecting those she cares about from the backlash of Buddhist and Muslim extremists. Set against the backdrop of Burma’s fractured transition to democracy, this coming-of-age story weaves critiques of “voluntourism” and humanitarian intervention into a young woman’s quest for connection across cultural boundaries. This work of literary fiction will fascinate Southeast Asia buffs and anyone interested in places where the truth is bitterly contested territory.

March 2018 245 pp., 6x9
ISBN 978-0-87580-777-5
$19.95t Paper

Rosalie Metro is an anthropologist of education who has been researching Burma/Myanmar since 2000. She holds a PhD from Cornell University, and she is currently an assistant teaching professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-777-5
Paper $19.95