Novel excerpt: from a work in progress…

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The first day of my life in another man’s identity began with a flash. Opening my eyes, I was blinded by the glare of fluorescent light. I tried to speak, but my voice was muffled by bandages wrapped around my head and covering my ears. I tried to turn over, but my whole body began to throb with pain. My head was clouded—it felt as if I’d been brought back from the dead after a long time in limbo—so I hadn’t a clue what could have brought me to this state. What happened? I recalled only the heat of flames, shouting voices I didn’t recognize, and being picked up and dragged away. Where was I now? Lying on a bed somewhere, in a room with a window.

Within a few moments of regaining consciousness, I saw the room fill with people. A man in a white coat asked if I knew my own name. When I could not recall it, he spoke a name I didn’t recognize. Other white coats called me the same name and “sir.” Or “Captain.” Over the next hours various people came into my room, each bearing offerings of food, Buddhist pendants, garlands of jasmine, or giant chunks of jade, which they made a big deal of presenting. Everyone was dressed in full Tatmadaw uniform. It was only when I noticed that the white coats were addressing each other by rank that it dawned on me: I was in a military hospital.



Burma as failing state: The road to civil war

Burma as failing state: The road to civil war
CRACKDOWN–An injured demonstrator is taken for medical attention during an anti-coup protest in Hlaing Tharyar district of Rangoon. (EPA-EFE photo)

More than two months into the unfolding nightmare of Burma’s latest military dictatorship, a grim new reality has become apparent to the people of this country, also known as Myanmar, and to others around the world who have been following events there with ... Read More >


About Daniel Gawthrop

Daniel Gawthrop is the author of five non-fiction books including The Rice Queen Diaries, which was shortlisted for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award and an Independent Publishers Award (best biography/memoir), and The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity. He lives in New Westminster, B.C., traditional Coast Salish territory of the Qayqayt First Nation.

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