The Glass Palace

Minna Proctor

When you heave your final sigh and turn the last page of Amitav Ghosh's new novel, The Glass Palace, you feel as if you've travelled for 100 years on foot, through the most distant and lush lands on the globe. The Glass Palace is as close as a person tucked cozily into an armchair on a rainy day can get to the rubber plantations of Malaysia, the teak forests of Burma, and the bustling city streets of Rangoon and Singapore, bearing witness to the demise of the Burmese monarchy and the rise and fall of the British Empire. A stately and vibrantly detailed family saga set in south-central Asia against the tumultuous backdrop of the 20th century, The Glass Palace is the story of Rajkumar, an Indian shop boy orphaned in Mandalay, who, on the eve of the 1885 British invasion, falls in love with Dolly, a beautiful handmaiden to the Queen of Burma. The conquering British send Burma's King Thebaw and his loyal court, including the young handmaiden, into exile in remote India. Rajkumar, left behind in Burma, is adept at working the new colonial system, and he manages to build a thriving lumber business in the growing teak trade. Elegantly dressed in English clothes, Rajkumar sets off to India to find Dolly, the only woman he has ever loved. The long years in exile have devastated the royal family, leaving Dolly as their only servant. Through the wiles of the colonial administrator's wife, Uma Dey, Rajkumar wins an audience with Dolly and convinces her to return to Burma and marry him. She agrees, and shortly after her departure everything falls apart.

The royal family is embroiled in scandal, the administrator commits suicide, and Uma, grieving more over the absence of her dear friend Dolly than over her husband's death, eschews the traditional life of an Indian widow and goes abroad, where she becomes a revered leader of India's burgeoning independence movement. And this is only the beginning. The story of Uma, Dolly, Rajkumar and their children, nieces, and nephews -- and their children's children, nieces, and nephews -- takes us from the rubber boom of the industrial age to the front lines of World War II, from India's struggle for independence to Burma's fall and its transformation into Myanmar under a military dictatorship.

"In the five years it took me to write The Glass Palace," recounts Ghosh, "I read hundreds of books, memoirs, travelogues, gazetteers, articles and notebooks, published and unpublished; I travelled thousands of miles, visiting and re-visiting, so far as possible, all the settings and locations that figure in this novel; I sought out scores of people in India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand." Inspired by the legends of his own ancestry, Ghosh's massive research makes for a wealth of detail. The Glass Palace is at once a gargantuan history, a family saga, and an adventure story. It is so richly and compassionately rendered you come to feel you are somehow part of its vast extended family whose story finds its humble origins in two orphans standing innocently on the threshold of the 20th century.

The Glass Palace

Anirvan Sen

Only a handful of people in this world have the capacity to interweave history with travel to make a story and one of them definitely is Amitav Ghosh. After his excellent work on Egypt (In An Antique Land), the author has used his craftsmanship to narrate a story from the Raj days. The Indian author has introduced the subtle cultural differences with extreme finesse and sensitivity in his latest work, The Glass Palace. Based in the East, in the land which was known as British India, the story starts from Burma (Myanmar) and traverses through pre-independent India, parts of Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore. The story touches upon various aspects of the Raj days. Indian soldiers donning the British uniform, the subtle racism, which existed between the locals and the foreigners, between the yellow and white, between the yellow and the brown. The story of The Glass Palace is based on two human groups: one stemming from the Burmese Royal family from Mandalay and the other individual, an orphan called Raj Kumar. The story starts with Raj Kumar, an orphan looking for a job and landing up in Mandalay.

The early parts of the book cast a light on the life of local people, when the British had just started to make their mark in that part of the world. Before the arrival of the British, the life in those parts existed in equilibrium. The trading mostly used to happen between neighbouring countries and a little volume would be traded outside the circle. With the growth of the British dominance, the scenario changed forever. "There was only one person in the food stall who knew exactly what that sound was, that was rolling in across the plain, along the silver curve of the Irrawaddy, to the western wall of Mandalays fort. His name was Rajkumar, and he was an Indian, a boy of twelve - not an authority to be relied upon.

"The pleasure about reading Amitav's work comes, not only from the story but the descriptions of the lifestyle, behaviour of people, the subtlety of the cultural impact and of course, the details of the day to day life.

"The swellings had grown to pineapple size and the elephants hide had begun to crack and break apart. As the hours passed the lesions grew yet larger and the cracks deepened. Soon the pustules began to leak a whitish ooze. Within a short while the animals hide was wet with discharge. Rivulets of blood-streaked pus began to drip to the ground. The soil around the animals feet turned into sludge churned with blood and ooze." Amitav has an eye for detail and that can be explained from the descriptions, he talks about a disease called Anthrax (which is also used as a biological war weapon in the present day). By dramatizing the effects of the disease, the impact on the readers mind is astounding. Amitav writes his description with the precision of a medical practitioner."The King walked out of the pavilion, flanked by Queen Supayalat and her mother. The procession passed slowly through the long corridors for the palace, and across the mirrored walls of the Hall of Audience, past the shouldered guns of he guard of honour and the snapped-off salutes of the English officers.

Two carriages were waiting by the east gate. Just as he was about to step in, the King noticed that the ceremonial canopy had seven tiers, the number allotted to a nobleman, not the nine due to a king." One of the most interesting facts about the Amitavs writing is his ease of using details of culture and customs which are not his native custom. He picks up the details and writes with such finesse, that people can be mistaken for thinking about the descriptions being written by a local. All in all, this book can definitely be classified as one of the best-written novels describing that period of history for that part of the world.  

The Glass Palace

Subhajit Ghosh

Magnificent. There's no other word for it. It's a well-researched book and thoroughly enjoying. Spanning a period of about sixty years, it's a tale about three generations of a family and similar in some respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Human emotions make the novel engaging. Love, betrayal, treachery, racism, friendship & sacrifice pervade the unfolding of events. Romance mingles with vivid description of a war as the principal characters move from Rangoon and Mandalay in Burma to Malaya, and from Ratnagiri, Calcutta and Madras in India to the United States. It's a story about an Indian man, RajKumar Raha who lands up in Burma in a state of penury owing to a shipwreck. From his humble beginning as a sailor boy, he rises to become an extremely affluent influential timber trader in Burma. This 550 page fictional work with Burmese history woven into the narrative chronciles his family's experiences, their ups and downs, the hatred that exist in Burma for Indo-Burmese family (Rajkumar marries a Burmese lady Dolly ) providing us in between with a wealth of information about Burma, the timber trade, killer diseases like antharax which attack and kill elephants etcetera without becoming dry and boring.

Reading through the novel one is convinced about the tremendous research the writer must have done for this work while dealing with a subject that won't come naturally to any writer. A Bengali who grew up in various places, Amitav Ghosh writes about Burmese life with an authority and a flair that a good Burmese writer would have been proud of. His description is awesome and he's as precise about military life as he is when he is handling erotic sequences or the make of a foreign car. Amitav's prose is captivating. Below are just two beautiful extracts from the book."Everything he owned was in that place, all that he ever worked for; a lifetime's accumulation of labour stored as a single cache of wood. He thought of the elephants and the bombs falling around them; the flames leaping from a well-stacked wood; the explosions, the trumpeting.

It was he who has concentrated all his holdings in this one place -- that too was part of the plan -- and now the bombs have claimed it all. But it didn't matter; nothing mattered so long as Neel was unharmed. The rest were just things, possessions. But Neel ..... " The second extract. "They came across a lady one day, dressed in a beautiful silk sari, a peacock-green Kanjeevaram. She looked to be from a wealthy family but she too had run out of food. She was trying to bargain with a group of people who were sitting by a fire. Suddenly she began to undress and when she'd stripped off her sari they saw she had others on underneath, beautiful, rich silks, worth hundreds of rupees. She offered up one of these, hoping to exchange it for a handful of food. But no one had any use for it; they asked instead for kindling and wood.They saw her arguing vainly with them -- and then perhaps recognising finally the worthlessness of her treasured possession, she rolled he sari into a ball and put in on the fire; the silk burnt with a crackling sound, sending out leaping flames.

"Flashback techniques has been used in several places. Scenes from Burmese rebellion are a recurring motif. These images are terribly disturbing and continues to haunt and those who've seen John Boorman's hard-hitting film BEYOND RANGOON on the atrocities by Burmese military Govt. on its citizens will be convinced that this resourceful land, called the Golden Land, rich in precious stones, rubber among other items is/was truly in the grip of anarchy for a long time. In the last pages, havoc caused by a Japanese invasion in Burma and its effect on the Army officers and the people have been penned quite forcefully. It's undoubtedly one of the best books I have read in recent times.

The Glass Palace

Ahdaf Soueif

Rajkumar Raha is 12 when he is orphaned on a sampan tethered in a mangrove-lined estuary on the way to Chittagong. He makes his way to Mandalay just ahead of the British arriving to depose King Thebaw. On the eve of the Royal Family's departure into exile, Raha sees, in the Glass Palace, Dolly, the Queen's 10-year-old handmaid. This - in fine Romantic tradition - is obsession at first sight. Almost 20 years later, having made his fortune in timber, Raha seeks out Dolly in her exile in Ratnagiri. Throughout the novel, the Empire expands and then retracts, fortunes are won and lost, the face of the world changes. The novel follows Raha's family through 3 generations and many cities. It teems with servants of the British Empire and with their colonial subjects. This is the East as seen by its own people, described by a writer whose allegiance is simply to the human. Ghosh is one of the most sympathetic post-colonial voices to be heard today. He looks at love and loyalty, and examines questions of Empire and responsibility, of tradition and modernity. A funny, sad, entertaining, wise and - ultimately - a hopeful book. I loved it.

The Glass Palace

Meenakshi Mukherjee

There was a fabled hall called the Glass Palace in Mandalay before the British annexed Burma in 1885.Its walls of shining crystal and mirrored ceiling "shimmered with sparks of golden light" when the lamps were lit. Situated in the spacious garden of the fort where the Burmese royal family lived, it was a dazzling emblem of the country's elegance and self-sufficiency until devastated by foreign rule. Towards the beginning of the novel the readers are given a brief glimpse of the palace through the awe-struck eyes of an eleven year old urchin as it was being sacked and plundered by the local people before the British troops arrived to take possession. After that, for nearly five hundred pages there is no mention of the building which gives the novel its title. Just before the novel ends, the Glass Palace is mentioned twice,: we find a young research student of Rangoon University writing a dissertation on a famous nineteenth century history of Burma called The Glass Palace Chronicles; later, one of the few survivors in this vast saga of intertwining families, rediscovered in the final chapter, is seen to be running a modest photo studio called The Glass Palace where young people, stifled by the military dictatorship of present day Burma, gather to open their minds, to discuss books, pictures and ideas. Without labouring a symbolic point, in retrospect the author is able to imbue the title with images of loss as well as hope. This is how most of the novel works. There are so many issues, so many events and so many people involved that the author rarely ever pauses to create special effects or heavily underline an idea.

The story spans more than a century in the history of the subcontinent, people get involved in unexpected relationships across countries and cultures, wars are fought, rebellions quelled, political and ethical issues are debated, fortunes are made and lost. The writer reports everything accurately, thoughtfully - his precision backed up by meticulous research. Military manoeuvres, models of automobile and aircraft, drilling of oil, timber trade,food, clothing, every detail is historically specified. No one is directly indicted in the novel, not a single person idealised. Yet casually mentioned details get linked across space and time to form haunting patterns, their cumulative effect staying with the reader long after the novel is over. For all its vividness of description and range of human experiences, The Glass Palace will remain for me memorable mainly as the most scathing critique of British colonialism I have ever come across in fiction. The novel begins and ends in Burma, a country physically so close to us yet about which our ignorance and indifference have been abysmal. In our childhood we occasionally heard of rich Indian families who had come back from Burma to escape Japanese bombing. No school book taught us anything about the country's past before it became part of the empire and I am embarrassed to admit that my first acquaintance with Mandalay and emperor Thebaw was through a silly Rudyard Kipling jingle about a British soldier and Burmese girl:

"Her petticoat was yellow and little coat was green. Her name was Supi-yaw-let, just the same as Thebaw's queen".

Thebaw's proud queen, I am chastened to learn now from Amitav Ghosh's book, was Supayalat, feared and admired blindly by the people of Burma. The unceremonious removal of the king and the pregnant queen from Mandalay to distant Ratnagiri in the west coast of India ( the reverse movement of Bahadur Shah Zafar's deportation to Rangoon a generation ago ) was an astute move by the conquering British, successful in humiliating the royal couple completely, also erasing them from public memory at home. Forgotten and abandoned, the king and queen led a life of increasing shabbiness and obscurity in an unfamiliar territory while their country got depleted of its valuable natural resources - teak, ivory, petroleum. The rapacity and greed inherent in the colonial process is seen concentrated in what happened in Burma, and the author does not gloss over the fact that Indians were willing collaborators in this British enterprise of depredation. Not only did two-thirds of the British army consist of Indians when Burma was conquered, years later the Saya San rebellion was brutally suppressed by deploying Indians soldiers. A small news item appeared in a Calcutta newspaper with the gruesome picture of sixteen decapitated heads on display but in the thirties the Indian public was too pre-occupied with its own national movement to notice what was happening in Burma. The novel also lays bare the process by which Indian agents became rich by transporting indentured labourer to work in the plantations.The actual protagonists in this novel are not kings and queens but ordinary people - some of them orphaned or displaced - buffeted around by forces greater than themselves. "There are people who have the luck to end their lives where they began. But that is not something that is owed to us ", says one of them. As in other Amitav Ghosh novels, human lives spill over national boundaries, refusing to stay contained in neat compartments.

A person is remembered not as Burmese, Indian, Chinese,Malay or American - but merely as Uma, Dolly, Saya John, Alison, Dinu, Neel or Daw Thin Thin Aye. That Dinu is also called Tun Pe and Neel's other name is Sein Win further destabilises nation-based identities. Yet, paradoxically, nationalism is a major concern in this novel. Two of the most crucial debates in are predicated upon this. These debates are not ancillary to the narrative, one cannot skip them in order to get on with the story. As in a classic Indian novel about nation and identity written early in the century - Gora (1909) whose plot progressed through discussion of ideas - in The Glass Palace too - meaning lies not in individual utterances, but in their dialogical negotiations, the emphasis being on the plurality of viewpoints. The stances of most of the major figures get gradually modified during the course of the novel through mutual interaction - theory and experience, duty and emotion often getting into each other's way to complicate both polemics and praxis. Among the many debates ( e.g. about colonialism and women, Gandhi and Ghadar party, Congress vs. anti-Fascist position on the Second World War etc.) the one that reverberates most resonantly in the novel relates to the ethical dilemma of the Indian officers in the British Army some of whom later deserted to form the INA ( Indian National Army).

Prefigured in scattered episodes involving other characters, this debate gets finally crystallised through two young officers in the Ist Jat Light Infantry, commissioned just before the Second World War: Arjun Roy and Hardayal Singh. First ever in his bhadralok family to join the army, Arjun is overwhelmed by its glamour, takes pride in the fact that his regiment has received medals for "putting down the Arab rebellion in Mesopotamia" and "fighting the Boxer rebels in China".But it is Hardayal, born in a family which had served the army for three-generations who is beset by doubt. The inscription at the Military Academy in Dehra Dun had said "The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time." Where was this country they were supposed to defend ? The moral crisis comes to a head in a forest hide-out in Burma where they lie injured after a Japanese attack. Hardayal confesses he cannot carry on with his divided life: " In the trenches...I had an eerie feeling. It was strange to besitting on one side of a battle line, knowing that you had to fight and knowing at the same time that it wasn't really your fight... knowing that you risked everything to defend a way of life that pushes you to the sideline. It's almost as if you're fighting against yourself." Arjun's code of honour will not permit him to think these thoughts and to him the idea of joining the Japanese for the liberation of India would be a senseless exchange of one set of rulers for another. The conflict is further tangled by Arjun's relationship on the one hand with his loyal batman Kishan Singh who wants to know what the English word `mercenary' means and whether it can be applied to them, - and his admiration for and allegiance to his British commanding officer.

Each of Amitav Ghosh's books, (except Countdown), invariably focuses on themes in history and connections across geography that have seldom been explored before, and does so with imagination supported by archival research, his narrative inventiveness matched by his luminous prose. The Glass Palace, his most ambitious work so far, makes no effort to be lyrical or evocative in style, the careful chronicling of an eventful century prioritised over experiments with language and technique. Yet there are many moments of sheer incandescence that seem to appear almost incidentally. For example, the description of Alison waiting under the tin awning of a railway station "wearing sunglasses and a long black dress. She looked limp, wilted, - a candlewick on whom grief burnt like a flame." Or in another instance when the English soldiers marched towards Mandalay and people ran in panic. "Rajkumar was swept along in the direction of the river. As he ran, he became aware of a ripple in the ground beneath him, a kind of drumbeat in the earth, a rhythmic tremor that travelled up his spine through the soles of his feet." In this clear lucid narrative, vividly concretised characters, their desires, longings and ambitions are constantly swayed and disrupted by the tide of history but the blending of the public and the personal spheres is seamless. Some of the concerns of Ghosh run through several texts. A scene of mob violence which was at the centre of The Shadow Lines reappears in different contexts at least twice in The Glass Palace foregrounding the helplessness of individuals during collective frenzy., an increasingly common feature of our time. The incubus-like military regime in Burma today, which sucks its life from the rest of the country had been mentioned Dancing in Cambodia.As I write this review, reports of further repressive measures by the government in Myanmar on Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers appear in our newspapers, almost as a sequel to the novel I have just finished reading.

One would have expected a sense of dejection at the end of a novel that deals with so much human tragedy, wars, deaths, devastation and dislocation. But the last section of the novel is electrifying. When the two surviving members of the families in Calcutta and Burma meet through their common bond of photography - which incidentally is a running motif in the novel - there is in a sense an opening up of doors. The most unexpected are the last three pages which encapsulate past and present, evoking a mood of reconciliation and peace through a startling and bizarre image. Each reader of The Glass Palace will pick out a different strand from this weave of many stories. " A word on the page is like a string on an instrument. My readers sound the music in their heads, and for each it sounds different", says a writer in the novel, using a different metaphor. Whichever story or music one prefers, no reader is likely to come out of the experience of reading this remarkable novel unscathed.

The Glass Palace

Ruth Scurr

There is something daunting about a novel of more than 500 pages (unless you are a speed reader or infinitely leisured). And long historical novels raise a further question: why read fiction instead of fact? Fortunately, Amitav Ghosh is such a fascinating and seductive writer that any doubts have blown over by page 5 of The Glass Palace. The novel begins in Mandalay on the eve of the Anglo-Burmese war in 1885. The British motivation was commercial: control of a lucrative teak trade. The invading force was composed largely of Indian recruits. Their contentious position inside the British Army was destined to become still more confused on foreign ground. And Burma, at this time, was a courtly society, free from abject poverty or illiteracy, ruled by a revered king and queen capable of legendary cruelty. Some novelists let history rumble on discreetly in the background. But Ghosh sets his sights high, aiming to reflect the broad sweep of historical change over three generations and three countries: Burma, India and Malaya, from the end of the 19th century to the aftermath of World War II.

His narrative follows a line of loosely connected characters, moving like shadows across a panoramic picture. The effect is breathtaking. At the head of the line are two children, Rajkumar and Dolly. Both are orphans, but their similarities end there. Rajkumar is an Indian working on a food-stall in Mandalay and Dolly is one of the Burmese queen's trusted courtiers, responsible for caring for the young princesses. When the royal family is exiled, first to Madras, then to a remote coastal village between Bombay and Goa, Dolly is one of the few servants to accompany them. Her striking beauty is spotted by Rajkumar as he loots and grieves with the crowd. He grows up and makes a fortune in the teak trade, expanding under British direction. He goes in search of Dolly, now in her thirties, living in squalor with the languishing royal family. They marry and settle in Rangoon. Their sons grow up with far-flung connections and interests in the rubber plantations of Malaya, the escalating campaign for independence in India, the imploding British Army and the complex economy and politics of Burma. Even more astonishing than his ambitious plot is Ghosh's technique for executing it. The key to this is the pace. Characters meet and marry within sentences. They become pregnant and give birth two pages later.

Power in Burma changes hands in a paragraph. World War I begins and ends in less than ten pages. But if it is fast, The Glass Palace is also rigorously controlled. Ghosh is a deeply serious writer, sure of his human and historical insights, and confident in his ability to communicate them. I cannot think of another contemporary writer with whom it would be this thrilling to go so far, so fast.

The Glass Palace

Ira Pande

BURMA, THE FORGOTTEN (or forbidden) land, has a new chronicler. Using the Glass Palace, the derelict seat of the last King of Burma, Amitav Ghosh spins an enchanting web that absorbs the reader so completely that the 550-odd pages can be read over a long weekend. Spanning centuries and generations and straddling the space of three countries, India, Burma and Malaysia, this is a saga that could have exhausted the skills of a lesser writer. But in the hands of Ghosh, a historian by training, an adventurous traveller and a sensitive writer of fiction, it becomes a confluence of all three. With remarkable sleight of hand, Ghosh juggles history, fiction and travel writing to produce a story so absorbing that it can be read variously as a history of Burma over the last two centuries, an enduring romance between two families, and a travelogue about a forgotten Buddhist territory.

The book reminds one of a spider's web 9a still centre from where shimmering strands radiate in various directions along structured paths that trace the same space over and over again in ever-widening circles. In the architecture of such a work, the beginning and end have no meaning, what matters is the delicate but tensile strength of the strands that cling to your mind as cobwebs cling to your skin. Avoiding the media res beginning, much favoured by writers of family sagas, Ghosh's book uses a dramatic moment to introduce one of its central characters, an orphan Rajkumar Raha. Guns boom over Mandalay as the last King is overthrown and the confused flight of the Royal Family is described by little Rajkumar with the artless fidelity of a child reporting a spectacle. As the royal entourage is herded unceremoniously from the Glass Palace, images are etched forever on his mind. First among these is the face of Dolly, one of the maids accompanying the princesses.

Thus, one strand of history is woven dextrously with the beginning of another history 9the saga of Rajkumar's life. The plot bobs along on the turbulent events of the succeeding years and the first phase ends with the complete impoverishment of the King of Burma in faraway Ratnagiri. Ironically, this is the same arc that makes Rajkumar, the destitute orphan, so rich from trading in teak, that another "king" is born. Rajkumar travels from Burma to Ratnagiri, marries Dolly and bears her triumphantly back to the land of her birth. Exile and return are thus at once a tragedy and a romance. Throughout the book, Ghosh uses one end to signal another beginning so that at one level, nothing changes and yet everything does. There is a strong suggestion of Buddhist metaphysics in this technique. Life, death, success and failure come in cycles and Ghosh uses the conceit of a pair of binoculars early in the book to sensitise the reader to this perspective. Thebaw, the Burmese king, watches over the Ratnagiri harbour with his binoculars, "predicting" the return of sailing vessels, and warning the townspeople of impending disasters. What makes the tragedy of human life bearable is a graceful acceptance of the inevitability of pain and suffering.

The King dwells on the word karuna, "the immanence of all living things in each other, for the attraction of life for its likeness". The connotations of this are clear to Dolly in a manner that is almost incomprehensible to Rajkumar, who cannot detach himself from pain and suffering in the way she, or the Burmese king, can. Another impressive technique is the manner in which the focus shifts between one country and another: Ghosh distributes the major protagonists over Burma, India and Malaysia and then proceeds to knit them together. The strand he uses here, unlike the motif of love that irradiates the first section, is history. Against the giant screen that he erects over the stage of South Asia, he enacts a shadow play with characters that bring alive the colonial history of this region. The spoils of the trade in teak, rubber and slaves along with the lush tropical forests take the plot up to the point when the first world war breaks out and everyone, and every country, is sucked into a macabre dance of death. The violence of the war years brings sweeping changes in the lives of characters and countries alike. Ghosh brings alive the ideology of the INA, dwelling as only a historian can, on the irony of two sets of Indian soldiers locked in a battle on opposing sides in alien territory. But by far the most moving account is the Long March from Burma to India. Refugees displaced by war and hatred stumble along the sticky mud of the Irrawady that clings and sucks. Ghosh prose mimics photography in describing individual horror pictures.

Word pictures are Ghosh¹s forte and he uses the character of Dinu, a dedicated photograher, to imprint these on the text. The last movement of this long story brings the book up to the gates of Aung San Suu Kyi¹s house and the final spotlight falls on " a slim, fine-featured woman-'beautiful beyond belief." In 1996, as Suu Kyi addresses the thousands who gather at her gates each weekend, there are two whose search through life has led them there. For among the rapt crowd of listeners are Rajkumar¹s son Dinu, the last link with the original cast of characters, and Bela (a historian like Ghosh) his niece from the India branch of the family. Hope, reconciliation, affirmation and faith 9Suu Kyi¹s presence leads the wheel to turn yet again. A perfect arc brings the book to a perfect end.