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

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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 (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 788,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The Times" (London) Vividly imagined...[A] journey to redemption...described with unsentimental conviction and a sure narrative touch.

Jonathan Lethem

"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)

Sharp, short, and terrifying...Surprisingly moving...a thoroughly frightening and foreign adventure.



"The Times" (London)

Vividly imagined...[A] journey to redemption...described with unsentimental conviction and a sure narrative touch.



Jonathan Lethem

I won't say that Graham Joyce deserves to find a wide audience in America; rather I think the American audience deserves to find him.



"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)Sharp, short, and terrifying...Surprisingly moving...a thoroughly frightening and foreign adventure.

"The Times" (London)Vividly imagined...[A] journey to redemption...described with unsentimental conviction and a sure narrative touch.

Jonathan LethemI won't say that Graham Joyce deserves to find a wide audience in America; rather I think the American audience deserves to find him.

Jonathan Lethem I won't say that Graham Joyce deserves to find a wide audience in America; rather I think the American audience deserves to find him.

"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review) Sharp, short, and terrifying...Surprisingly moving...a thoroughly frightening and foreign adventure. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 sights of Chiang-Mai in Thailand (or as his friend Mick likes to call it Thighland! in hot persuit)He is accompanied by this best friend Mick and his somewhat aloof and strange son Phil. I thought the scenes in Chiang-Mai were great fun and in particular one incident with Mick bought a big smile to my face...however once we head off to the jungle I felt that not only did our heroes lose their way but the story did also :( For those of you of a certain age ie you were doped out on Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the glory days of Woodstock then the second half of the book may well appeal to you...I just found it somewhat boring and even though the message in the final few pages is uplifting (but not unexpected) ultimately the book did not deliver and left me somewhat glad when I had finished.
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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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