Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele:  A Complete Review

Burma Boy1

Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele:  A Complete Review

 – Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele:  A Complete Review –

Biyi Bandele’s Burma Boy is a fictitious account of African-American soldiers fighting in Burma.

rma Boy by Biyi Bandele

Ali Banana, fourteen, lies about his age to join the British army and go on a big adventure with his friends.

It’s a brutal experience, only tempered by the men’s comradeship, and love for one another.

This deft portrayal is not just another World War II story, and it will appeal to a much broader audience – in the end, the war is secondary to the humor and poignancy of the soldiers, particularly Ali.


About the Burma Boy

Title: Burma Boy
Author: Biyi Bandele
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007
Length: 224 pages
Availability: The King’s Rifle – US
Burma Boy – UK
The King’s Rifle – Canada

Subject Matter:

La drôle et triste histoire du soldat Banana – France

Burma Boy tells the little-known story of Nigerian soldiers who served in the Chindits, a British Army commando division in Burma during the Second World War.

About Biyi Bandele

Biyi Bandele was born on October 13th, 1967 to Yoruba parents in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

He was a Nigerian writer, playwright, and filmmaker based in the United Kingdom who worked in fiction, theater, journalism, television, film, and radio. In 1990, he moved to London.

His plays have been performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and have been seen at the Royal Court Theater, the Gate Theater, and the Barbican.

The renowned novelist and filmmaker, whose untimely death was announced on Facebook by his daughter on August 9, 2022, was named one of Africa’s fifty most important artists in 2006, by The Independent.



Selected Writings of Biyi Bandele

Here are some of his works:


‣ The Street, Picador, 1999.

‣ Burma Boy, Jonathan Cape, 2007.

‣ The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond, Bellew, 1991.

‣ The Sympathetic Undertaker, and Other Dreams, Bellew, 1991.


‣ Rain, 1991.

‣ Marching for Fausa, 1993.

‣ Resurrections, 1994.

‣ Two Horsemen, 1994.

‣ Death Catches the Hunter, 1995.

‣ (Adaptation) Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, 1997.

‣ Thieves Like Us, 1998.

‣ (Adaptation) Oroonoko, by Aphra Behn, 1999.

‣ Brixton Stories/Happy Birthday, Mister Deka, 2001.


‣ Not Even God Is Wise Enough, BBC, 1993.

‣ Bad Boy Blues, BBC, 1996.


‣ Half of a Yellow Sun – feature film, 2013

‣Fifty – feature film, 2015

‣ Shuga – television series, Season 3 (Shuga Naija), 2013

‣ Blood Sisters – Netflix Nigerian Original series, 2022

Summary of Burma Boy

Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele

Winter 1944, and the Second World War reached a critical juncture. Ali Banana was a blacksmith’s apprentice in his rural West African hometown a few months ago; now he’s behind enemy lines, trekking through the Burmese jungle.

His age is fourteen years. The unit has been given orders to go behind enemy lines, and wreak havoc, led by the unforgettably charismatic Sergeant Damisa.

However, Japanese snipers lurk behind every tree, and if they manage to avoid the Japanese, infection and disease await.

The losses mount as torrential rains turn the landscape into a muddy death trap. The men of the D-Section Thunder Brigade, though homesick and tired, refuse to give up.

Burma Boy is the first novel to depict the experiences of Black African soldiers during WWII. It is taut and immediate, at once somber and exhilarating.

This is a true story about the men who created the legend of the Chindits, the British Army’s unconventional, quick strike division in India.

This vividly realized account details the madness, sacrifice, and dark humor of that war’s most vicious battleground. It is horrifying and always brilliantly executed.

It’s also the moving story of a boy attempting to live long enough to mature into a man.



Themes in Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele

Themes are the main ideas or underlying meanings a writer explores in a novel, short story, or other literary work. It can be conveyed using characters, setting, dialog, plot, or a combination of all of these elements.

Here are some of the themes in Burma Boy:

Theme of War

The major thematic concern of Biyi Bandele’s Burma Boy is war. The novel vividly recreates the violence and drama of a forgotten war.

Specifically, the novel explores the author’s fictional account of Black African soldiers’ participation in the Burma Campaign against the Japanese in World War II.

We believe the above piece of information was useful. Please, kindly share this content on all the available social media platforms.


Nsikak Ekikor, for HQ-Words Content Creators Team.



No Comments

Post A Comment