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Paperback Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet Book

ISBN: 0618340696

ISBN13: 9780618340699

Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A lively and cinematic twentieth-century epic, Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism. The story is wryly narrated by the chieftain's son, a self-professed "idiot" who reveals the bloody feuds, seductions, secrets, and scheming behind his family's struggles for power. When the chieftain agrees to grow opium poppies with seeds supplied by the Chinese Nationalists in...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An Amazing book!

I was completely carried away by this book. Wonderfully written and brilliantly translated. I didn't read it expecting to find a strong political theme, I was attracted to the magic and it really did transport me to another place and time. I loved all the characters and missed them when the book ended.

Booker Prize Quality Novel

This is a beautifully written and expertly translated novel. It certainly ranks creatively with "The Life of Pi," as well as meeting the high standards set by such surreal writers as Marquez and Allende. Not that this novel is as surreal as the South Americans' novels, but it portrays a reality so much closer to medieval times than to the 20th or 21st centuries that it seems surreal and even rather upside down. Initially, I was unsettled by the Chieftain State it portrays so vividly--executions, mutilations, and willful behavior extraordinaire by the Chieftain Families. But through shifts in power and the maturation of the characters, there is so much humour and wisdom and delight in this book that much that is universal is revealed in this way of life that we see rapidly moving towards extinction. I think China has intervened in matters Tibetan--be they religious or/and political, for a very long time preceeding China's invasion of Tibet. This potential of the Chinese for intervention with Tibet is represented in this novel--but I in no way felt that "Red Poppies" is pro-Chinese or in any way denigrates the Tibetans. I have a passion for Tibetan religion, culture, and art [actually I'm most interested in the Tibetan Bon Shamanic tradition]--and have an absolute horror of China's persecution of the Tibetan people, so I expect I would have been sensitive to any subtext in the novel if it exists in this regard.Finally, this is the kind of book that helps one step outside of the familiar and gain a fresh perspective--rather like going on vacation and then coming home and having everything look just a little bit different for a time. So take a break and enjoy this magical work.

A Excellent Read

I thought this is a wonderful book. The translated prose is exquisite, the characters, especially the protagonist/narrator, are intriguing and the story is a exciting epic adventure. One can't ask for more. I particularly enjoy the slightly detached tone of the narrator's voice, as if it is a inner wisdom speaking through the "idiot" boy. A previous reviewer hints that the author may have a pro-Chinese government agenda. I feel this is very unfair to the author. Granted, the Tibet he presents to us is sometimes at odds with the way the region has been eulogized in the West. But that's no reason to immediately question the authenticity of the author's voice. I didn't detect any pro-"Red Chinese" passages in the book. I am sorry to go on a long tangent, but it would be a real shame if people get the wrong impression that this book is written with a unscrupulous political agenda. It's a beautiful work of art about humanity and should be enjoyed as such.

Through the lens of Alai, life & savor in pre-occupatioTibet

filter through his words & subtle tones....Beautiful work. I can't put it down once I begin reading it.

Engrossing drama set in eastern Tibet

I couldn't put this book down. Alai spins a tale of turn of the century Tibet, where chieftians rule the divided land prior to communist occupation. Narrarated by the "idiot" son of a powerful ruling chieftian & full of intriguing characters and page turning drama. The story is still smoldering in me long after I finished this book. For those who love historical fiction or just an excellent story, Don't miss this one!
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