Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet

Alai Sylvia Li-Chun Lin Howard Goldblatt

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Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet

Red Poppies A Novel of Tibet A lively and cinematic twentieth century epic Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism The story is wryly narrated by

  • Title: Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet
  • Author: Alai Sylvia Li-Chun Lin Howard Goldblatt
  • ISBN: 9780618340699
  • Page: 276
  • Format: Paperback
  • A lively and cinematic twentieth century epic, Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism The story is wryly narrated by the chieftain s son, a self professed idiot who reveals the bloody feuds, seductions, secrets, and scheming behind his family s struggles for power When the chieftain agrA lively and cinematic twentieth century epic, Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism The story is wryly narrated by the chieftain s son, a self professed idiot who reveals the bloody feuds, seductions, secrets, and scheming behind his family s struggles for power When the chieftain agrees to grow opium poppies with seeds supplied by the Chinese Nationalists in exchange for modern weapons, he draws Tibet into the opium trade and unwittingly plants the seeds for a downfall Red Poppies is at once a political parable and a moving elegy to the lost kingdom of Tibet in all its cruelty, beauty, and romance.

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      276 Alai Sylvia Li-Chun Lin Howard Goldblatt
    • thumbnail Title: Unlimited [Romance Book] ✓ Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet - by Alai Sylvia Li-Chun Lin Howard Goldblatt ½
      Posted by:Alai Sylvia Li-Chun Lin Howard Goldblatt
      Published :2019-02-19T12:39:29+00:00

    One thought on “Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet

    1. Nick on said:

      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 [...]

    2. Stephanie on said:

      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 [...]

    3. True Reader on said:

      Red Poppies by Alai, is an interesting piece not least because it is one of the few literary works that has passed the censors of China to make it’s way from Tibet to the western world. Because of this, I have suspicions that the writer, who is Chinese, though has Tibetan heritage, portrayed the Tibetan people within the novel in a way the censors would approve of.The story takes place in twentieth century Tibet, and the narrator is the second, and youngest son of a Tibetan warlord, the Maichi [...]

    4. Johnny on said:

      My copy (it is 2002 edition of the english translation) has 433 pages, not 448.It's a really fun book. At first I was enjoying it mildly. At a certain point the characters and story really captured me. Takes place in Tibet in the decades leading up to the communists taking over China. It tells a very interesting story of what life was like in Tibet, what the customs were and what people were like. From the point of view of a member of a ruling family. The men of the ruling family get to sleep wi [...]

    5. My Tran on said:

      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 t [...]

    6. Dawn on said:

      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 [...]

    7. Al on said:

      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.

    8. Brian on said:

      A lush, gritty portrait of Tibetan feudal life told by the 'idiot' son of the second wife of a minor chieftain. Our unreliable narrator steadily learns the mechanics of governing an isolated fiefdom as it is buffeted by the changes of the 20th Century. From slavery to opium to Buddhism to Christianity to Communism, we get an unvarnished examination of the forces competing for the Tibetan soul.

    9. Litifa on said:

      The only thing i had to say: this book was not for me and very confusing and gross!!

    10. Amanda on said:

      Awkward translation, obscure subject matter, whiffs of magical realism, and plenty o' syphilis and opium. What's not to like?

    11. Aaron on said:

      Finally, I managed to get around to reading this. A college professor of mine recommended it a few years back. While I found it to be rather slow, the thing which kept me going was the main character. The "idiot" as he is called by everyone around him. His powers of observation, inquisitive nature, and reasoning make him something of a black sheep in that he does not always see the point in strictly adhering to the traditions, norms, and values which his family and society prescribe. He calls th [...]

    12. Vickie on said:

      Thank goodness I ordered the abridged version. I would not have been able to handle more. It was very hard getting through this book because it is poorly written (so much redundancy!), but more importantly, because there was not a single likable character in the story. I wish I had just read a short, non-fiction account of the culture and events during the early 20th century of the Tibetan area of Sichuan Province, China. It's an interesting slice of history, but I do not recommend this particul [...]

    13. FicusFan on said:

      An occasionally interesting, yet strangely unsatisfying read.The setting is in Eastern Tibet, which has taken on more of China's attributes than the rest of Tibet. It starts just before the last Emperor is deposed.The POV character is the second son, considered an idiot, of one of the Tibetan Chieftains. His birth circumstances guaranteed that he would be an idiot from birth, to those around him. They treat him like one , so he behaves like one. It gives him an advantage in that he can do or say [...]

    14. Siv30 on said:

      פרגים אדומים" מאת אלאי, קצר תשבוחות רבות. הוא מתאר את טיבט שלפני הכיבוש הסיני מפיו של בנו השני וה"טיפש" של מושל מאיצ`י, המושל הראשון שהסכים להעתר ולגדל פרגי אופיום בתמורה לנשק. תיאור הירידה מגן עדן על לשלביה, בשל תאוות בצע, מאבקים, תככים, סיאוב וטיפשות אמיתית של אנשים.  הספר כול [...]

    15. Karen on said:

      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 [...]

    16. Jens on said:

      Eigentlich wollte ich dem Buch eine bessere Wertung geben. Es ist einfach geschrieben, und es gelingt dem Buch einem mitzunehmen und dabei selbst in die Lage des jungen Fürsten versetzt. Allerdings sollte man wissen, dass nicht allzu viel über das Tibet vor der chinesischen Annektierung erzählt wird. Die buddhistische Lebens- und Verhaltensweise hingegen taucht hin und wieder auf. Stellenweise ist es etwas träge und das Wort Idiot ist für meinen Geschmack etwas zu oft gefallen. Was mich abe [...]

    17. Juanita on said:

      Review: Red Poppies by Alai.I liked the touch of wittiness, and humor the story translates being narrated by the chieftain 19s son who they call the idiot. The novel focuses on the excessive and brutal power of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism. It was a magnificent journey to another time and place. In short, simple sentences, mild vocabulary, and clear-cut style suitable for the subject matter, the author concentrates on the history of a Maichi family who only ado [...]

    18. Hock Tjoa on said:

      This is a wonderfully written book. It is bold, extravagant and shocking in parts. It has the feel of authenticity although who knows what the world of chieftains in pre-revolutionary Tibet was really like. The author speaks frankly about slaves and the freedoms a chief exercises over the bodies of "his" women.It is weak on plot, following instead a timeline with developments as appropriate. Making the voice, the main character, an "idiot" seems to be a device to avoid the logic of literary deve [...]

    19. Laura on said:

      I have always had a fascination for Chinese and Asian history, so when I found this audio book in the library, I couldn't wait to listen to it. I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but I am so glad I took the chance! Red Poppies is about a clan in Tibet under the rule of Chieftain Maiqi. He has two sons, the second of which is the narrator. He is known as an idiot, although today, I am sure he would be called autistic. The book goes through the life in the clan in the 1930s during a time where [...]

    20. Bea on said:

      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 [...]

    21. Linda Smith on said:

      Beware of "Bargain" Books or Audio books. You get what you pay for. I often pick up these at library sales or odd lots shops to listen to in my car. I can usually make it through most as they are a great diversion while driving, but this one was awful. The reader's different voices were terrible (I will hear him crying "Doma" in my sleep for weeks) and the story itself was drawn out way too long and boring even with it's brutal "action". To quote Shakespeare: "It is a taleTold by an idiot, full [...]

    22. Julie on said:

      I liked this book. It did ramble. But I think that is because the book, besides trying to depict history, is also trying to explore what the life of someone with Asperger's or high-functioning autism would have been in the early part of the 20th century in Tibet. A person narrating what his life was like would certainly ramble. An individual's life doesn't generally have a streamlined story arc. I found the character of the narrator ("the Idiot") quite intriguing.

    23. John Yelverton on said:

      This book was truly awful in just about every way that it could be. The story is told in first person from a man who is mentally handicapped, which makes the writing choppy and awful. The phrases used are not accurate to the time period depicted. Finally, the content is awful with murder, adultery, fornication, torture, mutilation, and drug use just to name a few. It was just awful all the way around.

    24. Teresa Thompson Arcangel on said:

      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.

    25. Cindy on said:

      I loved this book and hope they make it into a movie. It was such a visual read. The main character is an "idiot" born second son of a chieftain. Along the way he makes choices that are wise and starts to be consulted by his father. Which causes some animosity with the first born son. It is entertaining and captivating.

    26. Briana Nervig on said:

      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.

    27. Revant on said:

      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

    28. Joyce on said:

      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.

    29. Jackie on said:

      This is a very well written fictional account of the downfall of the Chieftains of Tibet. It is told by the younger son of the Maichi chieftain. It takes place during the struggle between the Red and White Chinese.

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