The Monsoon Bride is set in Rangoon, Burma 1930.
Burma has always loomed large in my imagination and Rangoon, the former capital, particularly so. I was born there but left for Canada with my parents when I was a small child. So my Rangoon has always presented the possibility of a different existence – the life I might have led.
Rangoon seemed to me a city where things happened, dramatic things, some sad, others wonderful. This impression was informed by my mother’s stories of tennis parties and dances, of travelling by private rail car. There were darker tales too – fleeing the invading Japanese army and later, rebel forces.
When I started to write The Monsoon Bride, I needed to know Rangoon more concretely and so began to research the city’s past like a scholar would – by trawling through the archive. I found this piece of film taken by Kate and Arthur Tode in 1930 and held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology films.