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Smoking Poppy (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Hardcover]

Graham Joyce
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 Oct 2001 GOLLANCZ S.F.

Danny is approaching fifty, separated, lonely and bitter. He hasn¿t spoken to his wife in years; he despises his born-again son and is alienated from Charlie, his twenty-two year old daughter. But his alienation is forgotten when he learns that she has been arrested in Thailand for smuggling heroin. He flies out to Bangkok and discovers that the girl being held in Chiang-Mai prison is not Charlie. What follows is a desperate journey into the remote hinterlands of Thailand, where the jungles are ruled by drug gangs and haunted by the spirits. And dogging Danny¿s every step is a spectral figure, half glimpsed from the corner of his eye, brushing his sleeve in empty temples . . .

SMOKING POPPY is about the love between a father and his daughter; it is an extraordinarily evocative journey into the sights and sounds of Thailand; a chilling descent into the supernatural. Graham Joyce¿s books are published around the world; they are elegantly written, full of brilliantly observed characters and always hugely readable.

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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: 23.6 x 16.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,186,438 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 lives in Leicester with his wife and children. A full-time writer he has devoted much of his spare time to promoting literacy in prisons running creative writing courses in various high security prisons in the UK. He is a four time winner of the British Fantasy Award. He teaches creative writing at Nottingham University.

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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
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
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts slowly, but stick with it 5 April 2004
By A Customer
'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
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st century Dickens 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read 19 May 2005
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A thriller with heart 21 May 2003
In SMOKING POPPY, Graham Joyce has done an excellent job of handling both the psychological and spiritual issues mysteriously yet honestly. This book is a striking portrayal of a father's unconditional love for his children (and his children's unfailing desire to protect him). Nothing here is portrayed as right or wrong beyond the demands of loyalty. More than a thriller, more than a family novel, SMOKING POPPY seamlessly weaves the two genres together into a painful, amusing, and unnerving tale of love and violence in the exotically dangerous Asian jungle.
If you have trouble with slightly far-out spirituality, you may have trouble with this story, but if you're interested in a seriously disturbed literary trip, SMOKING POPPY will definitely deliver.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, gripping - I have now started quite ...
Fantastic book, gripping - I have now started quite a collection of Graham Joyce's books. They never disappoint the reader - I get lost in the story and cannot put the books down... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Mrs Cool
4.0 out of 5 stars Stars are for Graham Joyce
Love this author but the condition of the book was horrible. It was the colour of a smokers lungs and ripped on some pages. As it only cost 2.81 I threw it in the bin. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Kaidas
3.0 out of 5 stars Smoking Poppy (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Smoking Poppy (GOLLANCZ S.F.) this was a bit of a slow burner, and quite a strange book, worth a read.
Published 8 months ago by diane
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
This book had an intriguing plot, colourful location set in Thailand with all it's tastes and smells delightfully described and mysterious full blown characterisation. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mrs. C. A. Cockayne
2.0 out of 5 stars For those of a certain age............
I loved the beginning of this quirky little book...Danny bit of a louse living alone from his estranged family finds out that his daughter is missing and heads off to the steamy... Read more
Published on 25 Dec 2011 by RT Twinem
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving this book
I'm currently reading this and coming towards the end and honestly I really don't want it to end at all! Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2010 by Saz W
5.0 out of 5 stars Smoking Poppy-licious
A very smooth story that had me glued to the pages and made the book very hard to put down. The way Joyce makes the characters seem real and the dialogue fast and intelligent makes... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2006 by N. Reith
5.0 out of 5 stars Smokin' hot!!!!
I always say you never know what your getting into with a Graham Joyce. They're all so different. First this threw me, now I'm at a place where I can't wait to see what he does... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2001
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