What does it mean to live in two cultures, never entirely feeling at home?
In this electric debut essay collection, a Myanmar millennial playfully challenges us to examine the knots and complications of immigration status, eating habits, Western feminism in an Asian home, and more, guiding us toward an expansive idea of what it means to be a Myanmar woman today.
What does it mean to be a Myanmar person - a baker, swimmer, writer and woman - on your own terms rather than those of the coloniser? These irreverent yet vulnerable essays ask that question by tracing the journey of a woman who spent her young adulthood in the US and UK before returning to her hometown of Yangon, where she still lives.
In You've Changed, Pyae takes on romantic relationships whose futures are determined by different passports, switching accents in American taxis, the patriarchal Myanmar concept of hpone which governs how laundry is done, swimming as refuge from mental illness, pleasure and shame around eating rice, and baking in a kitchen far from white America's imagination.
Throughout, she wrestles with the question of who she is - a Myanmar woman in the West, a Western-educated person in Yangon, a writer who refuses to be labelled a 'race writer.' With intimate and funny prose, Pyae shows how the truth of identity may be found not in stability, but in its gloriously unsettled nature.
What people are saying about You've Changed:
'Reading You've Changed is like staying up all night with a new friend, swapping stories over a take-out container of fried rice. I was charmed by Pyae Moe Thet War's voice, at turns vulnerable, self-deprecating, and always humorous, and by her thoughtful exploration of the liminal space in which her multitude of identities - Myanmar, woman, feminist, writer - reside.'
Larissa Pham, author of Pop Song
'This book was a joy to read. Bracing, heartfelt and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Pyae Moe Thet War considers the complexities of migration, belonging and what it means to love, in a debut that is as refreshing as it is welcoming. I can't wait to read more from this wonderful writer.' Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
'Arresting... In sparkling essays suffused with cutting humour, she recounts her experiences as a 'young, female Myanmar writer' - which she wryly claims is her 'unique selling point' and also her biggest obstacle... This is intoxicating.' Publishers Weekly
'Intelligent, thought-provoking, poignant and a delight to read. A refreshingly honest, original exploration of personal identity and a culture that may be unfamiliar.' Kirkus Review