Skip to content
Helena Thorfinn

In the Shadow of the Monk

Katja has been pushed out from her dull local government job and is desperate for a change of scene. The only option that feels remotely tempting is travelling to Myanmar, where her nephew Simon works as an intern at Unicef in the former capital Yangon. He is giving vivid descriptions of an enigmatic country in South-East Asia that is just opening up, and she books a ticket.

Once she has settled into a bungalow in Yangon, she witnesses how the country is gradually going through liberation after six decades of brutal military rule. Big tech meets tradition. Monks get their first mobile phones and learn to post on Facebook.
Still brooding on the past, Katja decides to attend a silent meditation retreat in one of Yangon’s many Buddhist monasteries. She needs to learn to let go and ‘let it pass’.

But once she arrives at the monastery, Katja finds herself in the middle of the secret movement that threatens the country’s fragile democratic awakening. She also finds herself as the guardian of a young nun. Instead of letting go, Katja has to engage and take a stand.
At the same time, in another part of the country, the little nun’s mother is looking for the father of her child. He has disappeared without trace, as the new power of social media in the hand of ultranationalists unleash a tide of hate speech against his ethnic group.

In the Shadow of the Monk is set during the years when the iconic Aung San Suu Kyi took power following the country’s first free elections. Optimism is sweeping the country. But the rapid IT revolution which is connecting a new generation with the outside world, is also steering the country in a dark direction that nobody had anticipated.

Helena Thorfinn writes about events she knows well and draws on personal experience from living in the country. Through her vibrant prose she brings to life places and characters behind the international headlines.

Helena

About the author

Thorfinn

Website: www.helenathorfinn.com/ Helena Thorfinn worked for many years as a journalist for both press and TV before making a career in international development. She has lived and worked in Bangladesh where her first two bestselling novels are set, and has also lived and worked in Myanmar and Washington DC. Her latest novel is set in Myanmar…

Read more

About the book

Katja has been pushed out from her dull local government job and is desperate for a change of scene. The only option that feels remotely tempting is travelling to Myanmar, where her nephew Simon works as an intern at Unicef in the former capital Yangon. He is giving vivid descriptions of an enigmatic country in South-East Asia that is just opening up, and she books a ticket.

Once she has settled into a bungalow in Yangon, she witnesses how the country is gradually going through liberation after six decades of brutal military rule. Big tech meets tradition. Monks get their first mobile phones and learn to post on Facebook.
Still brooding on the past, Katja decides to attend a silent meditation retreat in one of Yangon’s many Buddhist monasteries. She needs to learn to let go and ‘let it pass’.

But once she arrives at the monastery, Katja finds herself in the middle of the secret movement that threatens the country’s fragile democratic awakening. She also finds herself as the guardian of a young nun. Instead of letting go, Katja has to engage and take a stand.
At the same time, in another part of the country, the little nun’s mother is looking for the father of her child. He has disappeared without trace, as the new power of social media in the hand of ultranationalists unleash a tide of hate speech against his ethnic group.

In the Shadow of the Monk is set during the years when the iconic Aung San Suu Kyi took power following the country’s first free elections. Optimism is sweeping the country. But the rapid IT revolution which is connecting a new generation with the outside world, is also steering the country in a dark direction that nobody had anticipated.

Helena Thorfinn writes about events she knows well and draws on personal experience from living in the country. Through her vibrant prose she brings to life places and characters behind the international headlines.

News All News

Read more her

" data-button_text="Ok" >