Incident at Badamya, by Dorothy Gilman

badamyaI love serendipitous books, as I’ve mentioned before — those unexpected discoveries you’d never pick up unless you saw them on a library display or heard someone recommend them.  Or were in an online book club where people suggest books they’ve liked, as was the case with Incident at Badamya.  I wouldn’t have come across this book otherwise, but I’m glad I did.

It’s a very short and easy read about an American teenager in Burma in the turbulent years after World War Two.  When Gen’s father, a former missionary, dies, she tries to leave the country to go to the United States, as  her father wanted her to do.  But along the way she is captured by insurgents and becomes part of a group of American and European hostages.

Resourceful Gen is determined to escape, but what gives the novel its interest is the relationships she forges with her fellow hostages.  Each member of the small group is inclined at first to judge the others harshly on outward appearance, but as they survive their ordeal together, each person goes through important changes and learns something about the others as well as something about themselves.  This is a thoughtful, insightful little book with a tight enough plot to keep the pages turning, and a haunting little twist at the end.  I liked it very much.

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2 Comments

Filed under Fiction -- general, Fiction -- historical

2 responses to “Incident at Badamya, by Dorothy Gilman

  1. Have you read other Dorothy Gilman books? I’ve not read this one, but have read numerous others, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them…those she writes for young adults and those she writes for grown ups. She is totally accessible, and yet interesting enough to keep you coming back. I love her Mrs. Polifax series most particularly.

  2. Jan

    I can’t believe I didn’t discover Dorothy Gilman’s books until this year! (And me, a librarian!) Like you, it was a serendipidous meeting. Several months ago, I wanted an audiobook to listen to for my 35 mile commute home, and ended up being thoroughly captivated by “The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax.” I just finished the 6th Mrs. Pollifax book, and I started reading “Incident” last night. I’m almost finished! It was just too hard to set it down for the evening; and I can’t wait until 5pm, so I can go home and pick it up again! Gilman certainly had a gift for creating characters with character, and telling interesting but thoughtful stories. I have also totally enjoyed “Clairvoyant Countess,” its sequel, “Kaliedoscope,” and “A Nun in the Closet.” It’s amazing that someone hasn’t made a TV series from her books, particularly the three I just mentioned. The characters are charming, wise, and very believeable. I would dearly love to sit down and have a cup of tea with Emily Pollifax, or coffee with the countess. In another vein, after reading her one non-fiction book, “A New Kind of Country,” I’ve decided that “Uncertain Voyage” may have mirrored Gilman’s mental struggles. If anyone else has thoughts on this, I’d love to discuss it.

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