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Smoking Poppy

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  460 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Graham Joyce
travels to an enthralling, suspense-charged landscape in this hallucinatory novel of a father's quest to save his daughter -- without destroying himself.
Dan Innes has received shattering news from the British Embassy in Bangkok: his daughter, Charlie, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in two years, has been imprisoned in a Thai jail for drug smuggling. Angry,
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 18th 2003 by Washington Square Press (first published 2001)
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Fight Club by Chuck PalahniukA Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis1984 by George OrwellThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Best Transgressive Fiction
133rd out of 805 books — 585 voters
Fight Club by Chuck PalahniukA Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoInvisible Monsters Remix by Chuck PalahniukThe Elephant Tree by R.D. Ronald
Let's Shake It Up A Bit
301st out of 966 books — 353 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 910)
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Doug Bradshaw
I still feel a little hot and sweaty, stinky, clothes are stained and dirty, mosquito bites both old and new all over my body, and I’m very relieved to leave the jungles of Thailand still in one piece. Graham Joyce, or at least the protagonist in this story, is a bit of a red neck (what do we call red necks from England?) know it all, emotionally closed guy who has lost any meaningful connection to his two kids who are in their twenties, one a born again Christian (boy how that bothers our hero, ...more
This is my second book this month by this author. I am already planning on reading more. I hadn't even heard of him before coming across Some Kind Of Fairy Tale. These books were completely different but I enjoyed both. I felt pretty sure I was going to like this one after reading the author's note in the beginning. I could relate to his thoughts on his love for his children.
This one for me was scary in its subject matter. Receiving a call that his daughter (who is just out of Oxford) is in a T
Joseph D'Lacey
This was such an enjoyable read that I actually got angry whenever anyone interrupted my reading of it. I flew through the pages like I used to years ago. It’s easy to fall out of love with reading when you write. I think this is because you develop such a hyper-critical eye – both for your own work and everyone else’s.

But Joyce’s style and first person narration built swiftly from a trickle to a torrent and the momentum carried me effortlessly to the book’s conclusion. A bit like the raft ride
For me, this book had it exciting, fast paced story, that whilst being both an adventure and a mystery, was peopled by ordinary everyday characters who were flawed with all the usual human failings, but who magnificently rose to the occasion when someone they loved was in danger.
This was a novel about the fierce and unquestionable love of a parent for their child, no matter how difficult that child has's also about the love of an adult son for a less than perfect Father, an
Nancy Oakes
Smoking Poppy tells the story of Danny Innes, who one day gets a phone call saying that his daughter Charlie has been arrested in Thailand. It seems that she's now imprisoned and may be facing the death penalty. Even though Charlie and Danny have been somewhat estranged for a while now (since Charlie went off to Oxford, it seems), Danny is off to see what he can do. He is accompanied by a friend, Mick, and his son Phil, who has channeled his alienation from his father into religious zealotry. Th ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Rich rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Joyce, guys with grown kids, kids with grown fathers
Shelves: fiction-modern
Dan Innes has serious flaws as a father, husband and friend, the least of which being that he doesn't realize he's flawed. Dan's journey to attempt to locate and then ultimately bring his daughter home from jungles of Thailand is also a journey where he must confront and accept his own imperfections, as well as accepting the imperfections and embracing the strengths of those around him. In reality, this is a coming of age story for a middle-aged guy. It took awhile to realize that it was Dan who ...more
A British father gets a phone call that his 20-something daughter is incarcerated in a jail in Thailand for smuggling dope. With a drinking buddy and his son, he rushes to Thailand, only to find that the girl incarcerated is not his daughter, but has his daughter's passport. They embark on an arduous journey into the jungles near the border with Myanmar, where drug lords control villages in the cultivation of poppies and finding his daughter is only the beginning of their harrowing experience.

This book represents a nearly perfect narrative set-up. Curmudgeonly dude whose life is kinda of falling apart in slow motion gets a phone call out of the blue and learns that his estranged daughter is locked up in a Thai prison for smuggling opium, facing a possible life sentence (or worse). Accompanied by a drinking buddy (a kindhearted, somewhat goofy bear of a man), and his tense, evangelical Christian son, he sets off to fight for her freedom. From there, the story twists and it turns. Ther ...more
Graham Joyce has been one of my favorite authors for years, ever since I discovered him with Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Most of his books that I've read, however, seem to have astounding, otherworldly conceits and immediately hook me in at the beginning, but end sort of abruptly. This was true for me with Indigo, Requiem, and even in Some Kind of Fairy Tale, all of which I still loved, however I feel like with its simple but gripping story and (especially!) the satisfying ending Smoking Poppy is m ...more
When Daniel's Oxford-educated daughter ends up in a Thai prison on drug charges, he and his motley crew of companions head to Asia to release her. From there, they are sent on a wild opium chase through the jungles of Thailand, learning (the hard way) about drugs, warlords and addiction.
The first half of the novel kept me amused as perpetually-negative Dan leaves his pathetic excuse for life in search of his once doted-upon daughter. For the first time in years, his eyes are opened to the world
This is different from the first four Graham Joyce stories I've read in that it does not start with a happy but dysfunctional family in the heart of England, but starts with a father, estranged from his two adult children, and separated from his wife, who is completely at a loss as to how this happened.

His life is filled with the day to day things, but he keeps a distance between himself and everyone and yet, he has a best friend, Mick, who would do anything for him.

When word comes that his daug
Dan Innes is a father, his two children, Phil and Charlie are young adults, independent, wilful, detached. Somewhere along the way he lost the connection with his kids, more recently he lost a connection with their mother. Now, with books as his only friend, he plays weekly trivia with a group of people he doesn’t like, and pool with a man he hardly knows. That’s just how he likes it.

When he receives word that his daughter, Charlie, is in Chang Mai prison, Thailand, for opium smuggling, he sets
Anna Klein
Dan Innes's little girl, Charlie, is now an adult with a mind of her own. And she's in a Thailand prison. Even though she never turns to her daddy for help anymore, when he hears she could get the death penalty it never occurs to him not to rush to her aid. Leaving behind his intellectual but empty life in London, Dan takes his pub buddy, Mick, and his fanatically Christian son, Phil, and sets out on the long journey to find his daughter. Instead, he finds the girl who stole her passport. Desper ...more
I only just learnt Mr Joyce is no longer with us which is quite sad but what a legacy he has left us. This is my third book of the authors and was keen to read as I'm visiting Chiang Mia next year coupled with my admiration of the author's previous efforts which I thoroughly enjoyed. This venture is a worthwhile read though once the tale was in the village I did think it wavered a little and the book wobbled on a chore to read. But read I did and would suggest this isn't Graham's Jewel in the cr ...more
Trev Twinem
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 ...more
The Elves
Graham Joyce is a great author...
dear lovers of wonderful fiction,
... whose characters come alive. In this novel, Daniel is a father who cannot understand how he has become so estranged from his son Phil, who's become a fundamentalist Christian, and more particularly, his beloved daughter Charlie, about whom he receives news that she is languishing in a Thai prison for smuggling dope. This leads him on an adventure to the heart of poppy country, and into the world were the spirits reside beside
Holly Weiss
Hallucinatory is an apt description of this book. I tried to get into it, based on the positive reviews here, but just couldn't. Maybe if I had made it to the big father/children punch at the end I would have liked it. On to something more my taste...
Terry Mark
A book that takes you on a journey into the dark side of the thai opium trade to find a lost daughter deep within the jungle. Fascinating and brutal at times but a book that's hard to put down and has you on the edge of your seat right to the end. Another Graham Joyce masterpiece.Graham Joyce lost his battle with cancer last tuesday he will be very sadly missed by me and the rest of his many followers.
Sabrina Harvey
I loved the premise of this story, and sympathized with Dan and his twisted wreck of a life. Since I love travel and Asia, I love the setting of this story and the descriptions of Thailand. I learned something about opium growing and the opium trade. I thought Dan's jealousy of this children, and his reaction to it, was an interesting insight. And that meshed well with the mocking, negative persona he projected at the beginning of the story.

I thought the characters were too stereotyped, and Oxf
Clare Toolis
Dreamy, soporific and thought provoking, this book read like a more stoned version of Apocalypse Now, but with family included, explores the idea of bonds beautifully. I miss Graham Joyce.
This novel is about a divorced, middle aged electrician who hears that his precociously intelligent daughter has been arrested in Thailand for drug-trafficking. Accompanied by his drinking mate, an overweight fruit and vegetable seller and his son, a laconic born-again Christian, he sets off after her, determined to bring her home. As with Joyce's other books, the supernatural hovers just out of sight. Strange things happen, but there's always an alternative explanation. I found the final twist, ...more
"He'd let go flocks of dark birds, and now they were settling all along the path before me."
One wild ride with a journey into the Myanmar jungle of Thailand where opium grows in abundance, drug lords rule with absolute authority, and Thai villagers show a respect for the power of the opium and fear the spirits who truly command the effects of the poppy. All this and the determination of a father to find and save his daughter and discover himself. I know that sounds hokey, but he really does self-discover. (In an unhokey way - if there is such a word.)
Kendra Kettelhut
This one took a while for me to get into. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether that is the book's fault or my own distractions in my life that result in reading less in general, especially when I am so pleased by my feeling at the completition of the novel. I really in the end of this felt it really had a great deal of complexity and a very interesting story to escape into during the time it took me to read this.
Cath Anderson
An interesting plot but I'm afraid that most of the characters were just annoying!
My first book to finish in 2009, and an excellent way to start the year! I thoroughly enjoyed my first read from Graham Joyce -- the fast-paced events, hallucinatory images, well-drawn characters and good dialogue, the humor and sometimes caustic tone. It's a novel that tells several stories at once, and not least of all about being a father.
A British father learns that his largely estranged daughter has been arrested and detained for drug-smuggling in Thailand. His quest (with his equally estranged son and his "best friend") is part adventure, part Heart of Darkness, part religious pilgrimage and just freaky enough to be not only entertaining but really worthwhile.
Very good book by Graham Joyce - the best one I've read thus far by him - though it isn't really a scary story, which I thought would be at first. It's a page turner that's for sure, short chapters, not too much descriptions and etc...
I loved the voice of the central character, such a cynical and grumpy man, but likeable at the same time. I also thought the character of Mick was truly brilliant. Joyce paints his characters with such detail they really come to life.
There were few captivating moments and couple unexpected turns in the story but through most of it I was quite bored. The pace of the story was too slow and there weren't that many interesting actions which caught my attention.
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Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 – 9 September 2014) was an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his po
More about Graham Joyce...

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