A Deeply Moving Memoir of a Childhood in Wartime Burma
Author: Sarah Rayner
Publisher: Independently Published
"An unforgettable tale of courage and love, focused on real events. This is a beautiful, precious book," Jane Lythell, author of the bestselling After the Storm "Truly gorgeous. It's romantic, it's magical, it's atmospheric. The sense of history and the jungle are so strong I was moved to tears. I absolutely loved it." Laura Lockington, author and podcaster Chapter One... "When I was eight, I walked out of Burma..." So begins the true story of Mary Rayner's childhood, a beautifully written and deeply moving account of a family who for several generations lived in colonial Burma, and of what happened to Mary and her siblings when World War 2 shattered their lives. Featuring dozens of original photographs that capture the people and places that were once part of the British Empire, plus the heartbreaking love letters from a her father and mother who were torn apart by war, No More Tigers is a tale of resilience and survival which readers of all ages can enjoy. It is a quest for understanding, for home, for answers. Packed so full of detail it carries you away to a different time and place, it's laugh-aloud funny, yet isn't afraid to ask uncomfortable questions about how we used to live. * From the author/illustrator of the much-loved picture books, Mr & Mrs Pig's Evening Out, Garth Pig & The Icecream Lady, Mrs Pig's Bulk Buy and many more * Published and edited by Mary's daughter, Sarah Rayner, author of the international bestselling novel One Moment, One Morning * Featuring a Foreword and Afterword penned by Sarah, outlining the history of WW2 in the Far East and exploring the road to publication * Packed full of family photographs, images conveying what the war was like and maps to show where events took place * A must-read for anyone interested in the tragic tale of WW2's Forgotten Army * 25% of profits are being donated to WWF's Save the Tiger campaign * Suitable for readers aged 11+ and those who enjoy YA * An ideal Christmas gift for older people * For fans of The Diary of Anne Frank, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Lady in Waiting Chapter One: What is my country? I have no country, nowhere that I can call truly my own. Oh yes, I live in a village tucked below the rolling downs of Wiltshire, in a house that has been here for centuries; I know the history and the trees and the wildflowers and the birds and the architecture of England probably as well if not better than most, because it has been important to me to learn it, to adopt it as my own, but it is not deeply and thoroughly mine. The landscape that feels right to me is on a grander scale. The hills are parched, tawny and dry, the skies are blue, the rivers are wide. Why does it still, after forty years and more, seem an imposition to put on shoes and stockings or socks? Because bare feet or sandals are the right and proper thing. Why does the fall of leaves in autumn fill me with foreboding, the smell of chrysanthemums revolt me? Because winter is a hostile season. Cold winds that others find invigorating-make my ears and teeth ache. And I remain convinced that the only way to enjoy swimming is to be so hot in the sun that you are desperate to drop into a cool envelope of water. And why this permanent sense of dislocation? Because I was not born here. I am an alien, a refugee, a changeling. I only arrived in this country when my deepest loyalties were already forged, my natural bonds already made. And those ties were made half a world away, in other latitudes, in a country to which, I have come to feel, my own nation had no right, and to which I cannot return. When I was eight, I walked out of Burma.
Recounts the story of the author's childhood, covering his early years in World War II-era Kenya as the fifth child of a third wife, his thirst for learning that singled him out, and the political struggles that shaped his life.
Jackals Wedding, my story within a family story set in India, the land of my birth, tells of a past of puzzling opposites. "Tigers, and oil, and tea are all I remember," I once blithely answered an Indian professor whod taken me for a whirl. When he stopped dead, held me at arms length and searched my eyes, I had to think twice about the superficial untruth Id blurted. There were many parts of my early life Id locked away in the dark, just like my mother, and my grandmother before her. The good things that surfaced were idealized, airbrushed into scenes worthy of Kipling, or The Little Princess. I knew the romantic version, but what was the truth? What had really happened during those years in India? How had my mother and father became ensnared in a storm and sun relationship, a "jackals wedding," with my sister and me dragged along unwittingly? How had the exigencies of wartime prevented them from dealing with their own blow-ups? What was the big taboo within our family? Why so many secrets locked away, as my mothers heart had seemed locked to me? I was hungry to know the truth, so I began to dig down to the beginning through my first memories that are entwined with the unrest of the times. With a stroke of serendipity, my husband convinced me I must return to India, the land of my birth, and my childhood home in Dehra Dun. During this trip together, time spans were erased. People stepped forward to help. Images and voices and feelings came flooding back, and I was ready to examine them as Id examined the belongings that had traveled half the world in battered leather cases. Brought to light, the joys of my childhood flashed vivid and fragile as glass bangles. Fears that had lurked large as nightmare lions and scary as snakes dissolved like thunderheads shrinking and fading into a quiet sky. In Jackals Wedding, the stories of the child I was and the woman Ive become are braided with my mothers story and the stories she told. Many times during the writing, it seemed she was back, whispering in my ear what she wasnt able to tell, in life. I am still searching for my father.
The story of how an ordinary, young woman met the challenges of exxtraordinarily difficult circumstances. It is a love story, a confession and an apologia. Margaret risked everything to fall in love with Jerry Sams. She fought successfully to make the relationship with Jerry a permanent one, to bear and keep their daughter, no matter what the conditions, and to preserve her new, forbidden family.