One Night (ထိုတည) by Adam Maw (အာဒမ်မော်) is about the riveting events encountered by a group of students involved in 8888 Uprising in Myanmar (Burma). The story takes place in Myitkyina, northern part of Myanmar. It has eight small chapters and each is narrated in turn by a fourteen years old boy named Aung Dee and two senior students.
Aung Dee is an orphan living with his relatives. He is only a sixth-grader when the nationwide protests begins in 1988. One day, crowd of students and other civilians march around various districts of Myitkyina carrying the corpse of a student while the military intelligence is tailing behind. The situation becomes chaotic when the demonstrators reach the cemetery. The military troops surround them and start shooting randomly.
While he is running for the refuge, Aung Dee encounters a university student named Ah Rong and follows him. Along with Ah Rong and his friends, Aung Dee tries to escape. He later involves in attacking a group of soldiers raping a student and they save her from the soldiers. Through the rainy night, they hide and run from the soldiers following behind them.
The narrative on the occurrences of that one night is illustrative and fast paced which synchronised very well with the escapade of these students. It is a breathless read actually but thanks for a few breather I find through the trains of thoughts of the narrators which occasionally stray from the event. If not, I would be gasping for air by the end of the book.
Another impressive point is the different tones of narration used for the boy and other slightly older guys. (When there are more than one narrators in the story, I tend to seek out for the assorted voices.) Being different in age and personal experience, their voices are dissimilar but their feelings of being attacked and followed are the same, scared and hopeful for betterment. I am pleased to find them in the storytelling. The story is dynamic and well worth reading.
The last chapter concludes the story nicely in its own way. Personally, I’d like to have it ended with the penultimate chapter (Chapter 7). Such ending have a tendency to etch in my memories. With merely three pages, I think the last chapter could be fitted in the first chapter where Aung Dee reflects his life before he starts telling the events that lead to One Night. Just my personal preference I suppose.