Toby Lichtig

Burmese Daze



Sceptre 249pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

First the good news: Ned Beauman’s aptly titled new novel is glowing with good ideas. Set in a clubber’s London beset by an MDMA drought, Glow features a bright 22-year-old chancer named Raf who meets a mysterious and beautiful half-Burmese girl called Cherish at a pop-up rave in a Camberwell launderette. Glow, a mythical new dance drug, looks set to be the saviour of the serotonin-depleted revellers; Raf is keen to score some. But all is not as it seems. Raf’s pursuit of the gear and girl leads him into a murky underworld of multinational corruption, drug running, money laundering, surveillance and Burmese liberation politics, starring a bewildering cast of double agents, industrialists, subcontractors, pirate DJs, chemists, journalists and private security officers. Cherish’s complex back story unfolds as the plot spools forward, always just out of Raf’s grasp, and he assumes the role of detective in his own imbroglio. The novel is – in places – sexy and urgent, buoyed by a host of intriguing themes: foxes that appear to be getting more intelligent; the sociopathology of globalised big business; the meaning of emotion in a narcotic-laden world obsessed with neurochemistry.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,