Books: Sentimental Education

When Pascal Khoo Thwe was a baby, his grandmother spat three times on his head while muttering tribal incantations to protect him "from evil people and all misfortune." With all respect to the Padaung people of remotest Burma, the spit-and-spell routine didn't do much good. Poverty, dictatorship, sickness, war: Khoo Thwe had to overcome all manner of evils before finally escaping Burma to study at the University of Cambridge—the first Padaung tribesman to do so. Khoo Thwe tells the story of this escape in From the Land of Green Ghosts (Harper Collins; 304 pages), a memoir as heart-wrenching as it is...

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