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Smoking Poppy (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Hardcover – 18 Oct 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575072296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575072299
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

One of the most respected names in genre writing joins the VGSF list with an extraordinarily powerful and moving story of one man¿s search for his daughter in the myth shrouded jungles of Thailand.

About the Author

Graham Joyce is the award-winning author of numerous short story collections and novels, including The Tooth Fairy, Smoking Poppy, The Facts of Life, The Limits of Enchantment, The Silent Land, Some Kind of Fairy Tale and The Year of the Ladybird. He won the British Fantasy Award six times, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2003 for The Facts of Life. He also won the O Henry Award. In addition to his own writing, he taught a writing course at Nottingham Trent University. He died in September 2014.

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Oh that Charlie of mine, how I wanted her back. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Nov 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many people judge a book by its first page. If they are not hooked within a line or two, they'll put it down and may not bother to pick it up again. Smoking Poppy had me captive from the first sentence. It set the scene and the emotion for the entire book. Graham Joyce has taken a complex story and told it in a style that is both sophisticated and utterly simple. His characters are agonisingly, beautifully real, with real flaws and true inner strengths. Supernatural elements fit naturally into the story;credibility is not stretched, though imagination can run riot. The book works beautifully on every level.
Smoking Poppy is about a man, Daniel Innes, who gives his life and his love utterly and uncompromisingly to his family who reject him just as utterly for reasons he cannot begin to understand. When his ex-wife calls him with the news that their daughter Charlie is in a Tawanese jail awaiting sentence, twenty years or execution, for drug smuggling he knows he must go out there,even though she has not spoken to him for two years. He does not know just what he is going to. Against his wishes he is accompanied by Mick, a team-mate from his local pub quiz, who has decided that Charlie is innocent,regardless of the facts and that they are going to prove just that, whatever it takes, and Daniel's estranged son. If I were to tell you any more I might spoil the story for you, so I won't, other than that it made me laugh and cry often as I became more and more absorbed by the events that unfolded.
The thing I most liked about this book was that it managed to switch off my analytical brain and allow me to simply read and absorb. For years I've read books and watched films and dramas, noting key moments, clues and hints of what was to follow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
'Smoking Poppy' tells the story of Danny, a recently separated electrician estranged from both his children. His life is suddenly turned upside down when his daughter Charlie is arrested for drugs smuggling in Thailand. So begins a quest to find her, with the help of his supposedly hapless drinking buddy Mick and devoutly christian son Phil.
Things don't start off particularly promisingly. The main problem is the character of Danny, who isn't particularly likeable or believable. Supposedly a working class, honest to goodness bloke who's worked hard to send his daughter to Cambridge, his conversation is peppered with unrealistically flowery language - bizarrely, he uses the word 'apropos' every couple of pages. And this man who frequently describes how he feels at odds with his children's world, yet also describes more than one man as 'beautiful' - a very modern attitude for such a character.
The other problem is that the first part of the book is very slow, with little action to keep you gripped. It seems like a love letter to Thailand's landscape, which is very well done, but not necessarily that appropriate; fine if you want to read a travel novel, but isn't this a thriller?
However, 'Smoking Poppy' improves significantly halfway through. To reveal why could spoil the plot, so I'll simply say that the most interesting relationship in the book is opened up, and things begin to move at a more exciting pace. Something else which saves this novel from becoming dull is Mick. The failed wideboy with a heart of gold is far more likeable than Danny, and more three-dimensional.
This could have been brilliant with a better central character and 50 or so pages chopped out of the opening section. If you like travel novels, the atmospheric description of Thailand will definitely appeal, and if you're a patient reader, this is definitely worth perservering with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James McKinley on 13 July 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joyce's prose is lyrical and concise. His attention to detail is acute. His character portrayal is empathic to the point of being telepathic. The plot of 'Smoking Poppy' is so rivetting that I read this book in a single sitting, after which my mind was reeling with the impact of a vivid and harrowing journey. If you have ever watched the sun rise after staying up all night at a festival, if you have ever borne witness to friends or loved ones losing their minds to psychosis, education or religion - then this book is for you. You cannot fail to be enthralled by it. The book should particularly appeal to Oxbridge students, past or present, for reasons that will become clear when you read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saz W on 3 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm currently reading this and coming towards the end and honestly I really don't want it to end at all!

The whole story is so charged with mystery and incredible ups and downs that you never quite know what's coming next. The characters and their personalities are so well defined and it's easy to empathise with each one on this journey.
It's a great book for learning more about another culture alongside the main story as well.

This book has had me laughing and feeling sadness but I love it, I'm finding Graham Joyce's style of writing very easy to read with some simple yet complex description that's easy to keep up with.

Would definitely recommend this book, it's great on my commute and I feel like I'm in another world completely when I'm reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "philhogan3" on 19 May 2005
Format: Paperback
What a fantastic book, especially for the Thailand enthusiast, it brought back memories of my first ever visit and the culture shock experience. Mick's character had me in stitches with his antics and in your face attitude to life. The book was very funny in places while still dealing with a very serious subject, thoroughly recommended.
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