One of the main aspects of Blue Poppies is Falla's refusal to bow to Hollywood-sponsored cliches. Far from being the baby-eating Commies of popular imagination, the Chinese here are shown as tough but not unnecessarily cruel, preferring to win over the conquered with an open hand rather than a clenched fist - Falla is a fine and unflowery writer who delivers a punchy plot free of misty-eyed sentiment, yet [Blue Poppies] is crowned by one of the year's saddest endings. Sunday Herald Most authors appear to live on a very small planet; Jo Falla's world is a phenomenally big place. His vivid and authoritative fiction offers us the chance to experience - from the inside - life beyond Western frontiers, beyond Western preconceptions. In his company, we cease to be newspaper-skimmers or camera-toting tourists, and go straight to the heart of cultures that are exhilaratingly, sometimes frighteningly different from our own. Michel Faber, author of Under the Skin Jonathan Falla's debut novel confounds the stereotype of the first novel. It is assured, confident, without a trace of self-indulgence. It knows where it's going from the start, and that's nowhere near home - David Robinson, Scotsman A delightful debut novel - in what is at times a very dark and harrowing tale, Falla manages to enchant with his characters and to allow you to associate with their peculiarities. Jonathan Falla makes this a bewitching read which stirs up a multitude of emotions from love and longing to anger and disgust. You can't help but support this fine novel's characters in their long journey to freedom. The List This is a beautifully written story: sad, gently humorous and exciting and one can feel the affection of the author for the people and landscape - brilliant, I read it in one sitting and give it a five/five star rating! Sue Corbett, Wiltshire, newBOOKS.mag A dashed good thriller - beautifully written and good history too. Jack McLean, Herald This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. The author's superb descriptive power drew me into the book so that it seemed as if I were actually present and could experience the sights, sounds and smells of the village and also the terrain and the bitter cold. Not only that; it's a brilliantly told tale, both tense and poignant, incorporating all the virtues of good old-fashioned story-telling (a lost art?). Mr M Simmons, Herts I cared very much about what happened Jamie and Puton. l found myself caught up in their lives and gentle love. A beautiful book, that left me satisfied yet wanting more. Reader Review, Amazon.co.uk
From the Inside Flap
Jonathan Falla weaves a powerful tale of love and war, exile and homecoming...and of one man's desire to lose himself in a foreign land, only to find himself caught in a time of chaos and change.
The year is 1950 and, as the world recovers from the ravages of World War II, the Chinese army is perched on the border of a fragile land awaiting its destiny. Jamie Wilson, a young Scottish wireless operator and veteran of the war, has just arrived in the remote Tibetan village of Jyeko. He has come on business--to establish a radio outpost--but his journey will resonate much more deeply.
Like those who have traveled to this place before him, Jamie, the Ying-gi-li, is mesmerized by the majestic mountain ranges and enigmatic people, but he will also find an uncommon refuge in its unyielding beauty and in the arms of the willful Puton, a young widow cast out by the people of Jyeko. Inexorably drawn together by a shared loneliness, Jamie and Puton discover a rare passion and the promise of reconnection and belonging--until the voice of Radio Peking crackles over the airwaves, announcing the imminent advance of the Chinese army. Amid the ensuing violence and tumult, Jamie and Puton must embrace their fate and that of the remarkable land that has brought them together. What lies before them and the people of Jyeko is a harrowing journey across a breathtaking landscape...and an extraordinary tale of pride and loyalty, survival and awakening.