Golden Parasol by Wendy Law-Yone

Posted September 25, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Golden Parasol by Wendy Law-YoneTitle: Golden Parasol (Goodreads)
Author: Wendy Law-Yone
Published: Chatto & Windus, 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Ed Law-Yone was the proprietor of The National In Burma 1962 while there was a military coup. His daughter Wendy Law-Yone was left with the manuscript of his father’s auto-biography and asked to tell his story. Golden Parasol is the memoir of the daughter of a Burmese journalist, political prisoner and revolutionary and follows her memories of her father, imprisonment and escape from the country.

I’m not much of a non-fiction reader, as much as I try, and while this isn’t a topic that interests me, I’m still glad to have read it. Wendy Law-Yone is a novelist and her memoir of her father’s life reads like a novel which really helped me to get through this book  I don’t know much about Burma (now known as Myanmar) but now I know a little about the coup in 1962 (also suspect a CIA conspiracy).

Ed Law-Yone seemed to be a complex and colourful character, and if his daughter makes you question his character a little bit, chances are there was something off about him. What he did in the effort to bring democracy to Burma was extraordinary but that doesn’t mean he was a good man. I got the sense that Wendy was a little angry towards him. I’m not saying that he was a bad man but reading between the lines maybe there was a little bit of bitterness between the two; maybe a little neglect or annoyance towards all the time she spent at the newspaper.

When I read a memoir or biography (what’s the difference?) I tend to take what is written with a little grain of salt. I try to work out what might have been left out; I just wonder what secrets lay behind the writing. I really like how chapter 2 started, with some text from Ed’s manuscript and Wendy’s comments in-between (almost a little playful or sarcastic) and was a little disappointed that this tactic was abandoned but I think that would have made for a more difficult read.

Golden Parasol may not be the type of book I normally pick up and I didn’t think I would enjoy this one. I was interested in the narrative and how easy the author made this to read. I’m glad to have read this one, it wasn’t fantastic but it was an interesting insight. My struggle with non-fiction continues, I think I would be better off reading topics I’m interested in instead of something like Golden Parasol.

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