Red Poppies
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Red Poppies

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  242 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Ambitious, beautifully told, filled with intriguing characters, panoramic settings, and high drama, RED POPPIES opens a window on a unique region of pre-occupation Tibet, dispelling many of the popular myths about a uniformly pacifistic society peopled by devout worshipers. Set in the eastern part of the country, whose autocratic chieftains received their power to govern f...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 12th 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1998)
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This is a novel of Tibet, but not the idealized Western version. There are no mandalas, and what lamas appear are barely disguised shamans. The petty despots who run this land, still feudal in the twentieth century, own slaves and give them away, employ executioners and have maids whose bodies are theirs for the asking. At least until China intervenes, first in its Republican era by introducing machine guns and opium poppies, then by overrunning the place in the form of the People's Army. The na...more
Feb 24, 2010 Stephanie marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Despite my memories of traveling through Tibet and my affinity for the Tibetan people*, I could not finish this book about a feudal warlord prince growing up in 1930s Tibet. My first clue should have been that it was published by the Chinese "People's Literature Publishing House" which struck me as disconcerting since this more than likely means that it's been sanctioned by the Chinese government, who have ruled Tibet and watered down and misrepresented its culture for the past half century or s...more
I am not loving this book. Maybe it has to do with the translation. Okay, I admit it. I did NOT finish this book. It's terrible. I know it will end in tragedy and I refuse to torture myself for the next three hundred pages just to find out that Tibet gets the shitty end of the stick. I already know that. If you are intrigued by entitled behavior, like to read about slaves being badly treated and are attracted to the effects of opium -- this book is for you. Oh, there is SOME little bit of histor...more
I wanted to like this book. In fact the reason I gave it 2 stars instead of one is that I loved the setting and the feel of the book. And I liked the presentation of the main charachter (an "idiot"). But I felt the book was very negative (this is coming from someone who loves depressing books), and did nothing to bring the reader into the culture.
The only thing i had to say: this book was not for me and very confusing and gross!!
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Although it took me quite a while to finish, and at times found the story to be a bit of a hard slog, I enjoyed Red Poppies.

I believe the books blurb can best describe it.

'A panoramic human and political epic, this extraordinary first novel opens a window on pre-occupation Tibet. Far from a peaceful land peopled by devout worshippers, it is a place where ruthlessly autocratic rule, lavishly sensual lifestyles and bloody feuds take centre stage.

Red Poppies is the story of the wealthy Maichi famil...more
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Cuốn sách này đã cuốn hút tôi ngay từ những trang đầu tiên. Tôi bắt gặp Bụi Trần Lắng Đọng của A Lai trong phần mềm Truyện Audio trên điện thoại của tôi, một phần mềm mà truyện 18+ chiếm hơn phân nửa số sách.

Cái giọng đọc của người đàn ông, chậm, trầm và ề à mang cả cái lạ lẫm của buổi sáng mùa đông của vùng đất người Tạng vào tâm trí của tôi. Và khi tôi quyết định tắt ngay audio để tìm bản ebook đọc thì tôi đã bị cuốn hút hẳn vào vùng đất của những Thổ ti, của những thung lũng lộng gió bạt ngà...more
It was interesting mainly because it was told from the viewpoint of the second son of the Chieftain. He just happened to be the son who was thought to be an idiot. Yet, he understood and knew things that were not clear to the smart people around him and, at times, seemed to be prophetic in his knowledge. His brother was the expected heir to the role of Chieftain, but he turned out to be less able to lead.

Second Son manages to set up a marketplace on the border of his father's land during a fami...more
I wanted to enjoy it. After all, I bought it, no? But no, I didn't find enough of a story to bridge the rough patches in the narrative. There, I said it.
Teresa Thompson Arcangel
I am fascinated by this part of the world and looked forward to reading a book about Tibet that did not focus on the Dalai Lama. After listening to the first 2 CDs I had to stop. I just couldn't listen to any more descriptions of torture and suffering. I despised the characters and didn't want to spend another minute of my life with them.
Briana Nervig
Feb 17, 2008 Briana Nervig rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone interested in a seldom reviewed history of Tibet
Recommended to Briana by: My Mum
This book has an interesting story-line. I find, though, that's its a really difficult read. I think it lost something in translation, plus the narration is odd, told through the words of a self-proclaimed "Idiot", so maybe that's it. It took me a long time to get through. I would probably give it 3 1/2 stars, if I could.
The book which is set in 20th Century Tibet, is quite lively. It describes life of a self declared "idiot" who happens to be the chieftain's son and also the narrator of the story. The book gives us a view about how the Chinese used Opium for there benefit and how their favouritism led to interna...
Took me a bit to get into this book, but I liked it once I did. It was originally written in Chinese and later translated to English which I think contributes a little to it being hard to get into, but you don't notice it as much after awhile.
This book began and ended very well, but the story came to a near stand-still throughout the middle majority of the book. It's an interesting and unique read, but doesn't provide a great history lesson. However, very interesting.
I listened to the abridged audiobook. The story is very interesting--it takes place as Tibet is taken over by China. The introduction of the opium poppy to the region is followed as it corrupts the people and land.
Historical novel about feudal tibet in the early 20th century. The head of one of the leading clans agrees to plan poppies (for opium production)in exchange for guns to use against rival neighboring clans.
Vika Shteiman
really special one
Tibet , China and more of all- one special boy who is telling his and his country story between 2 World wars
couldnt stop till the end
(i have it at Hebrew translation)
A very different view of Tibet...not the monasteries and monks of the Land of Snows, but the political intrigues and feuds between Tibetan warlords, plus the nexus of opium and Chinese Communism.
David Hill
A wonderful novel that compares favorably with Graves's I, Claudius. Alai takes you into the corrupt heart of early 20th Century Tibet with the surety of a master storyteller.
KJ loved this book. I liked it. Need to get past the somewhat awkward narrative, due, I think to translation. But it's an interesting insight into the history of Tibet.
A rather strange read but interesting enough to finish. Gleaned some history with some macabre humor. I would recommend it and be interested in other reviews.
Susan Wang
I actually read this book in Chinese. The story was very interesting and written in beautiful language. But, I don't know how much is lost in translation.
Nathalie Khodr
Excellent historical novel about Tibet, in the early 20th century. I recommend this to anyone who has an interest in that region of the world.
historical period of 1800 in growing poppies in Tibet,narrated by son of chieftian who is suppose to be an idiot( I should be so stupid)
Awkward translation, obscure subject matter, whiffs of magical realism, and plenty o' syphilis and opium. What's not to like?
This was awful! I picked it up at the book store on the "Sale" rack. Mystery solved! Terrible, terrible.
this book took forever to read. at times i liked it, at times i was pretty bored. overall, i wouldn't recommend it.
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