Burmese politics, including their political prison system, is harrowing and vicious. Not a lot has changed in the past fifty years or so, other than changing the name to Myanmar. Until very recently, they were under military rule and they are still one of the least developed nations in the world. Karen Connelly has not only written a striking and engaging tour de force about this area, but she has brought a country’s atrocities into focus that needs attention badly, and help from developed nations. However, she hasn’t forgotten the novelist’s rule of thumb to entertain. It doesn’t read like a diatribe or soapbox, it reads like an exquisite, dramatic story of friendship, endurance, compassion, love, and faith in the human condition.