Item description for Blue Poppies by Jonathan Falla...
It is 1950. In a remote Tibetan village, on the border with China, Puton, a young woman, crippled and widowed in a terrifying attack, and now seen as an omen of bad luck by the villagers, meets a stranger-a young Scot, Jamie. He is in the village to set up a radio post. Both are lonely and isolated. Puton is scared of the locals and the Chinese; Jamie is homesick. As their attraction for each other grows, Communist China invades Tibet. The villagers must flee to safety, and led by Jamie, and his friend, Nima, a Buddhist monk and herbalist, the caravan tries to dodge the army, led by a vengeful Chinese commander. The villagers' epic journey, exhilarating and appalling by turns, is an adventure both dangerous and harrowing, with an ending few would expect in this vital rush against time.
Throughout the book there are echoes of Chaucer, beautifully crafted snapshots of Tibetan life, and detailed cameos of exhausted villagers torn between their need to survive and the love for their country and one another. But the true romantic vision in the book is that of an inquisitive stranger in a foreign land. Written with a light and sensitive touch, Blue Poppies is a dramatic, fast-moving story that paints a vivid picture of Tibetan life in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although charged with emotion, it is also a thoughtful and unsentimental portrayal of the country.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.16" Width: 5.88" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.72 lbs.
Publisher Interlink Publishing Group
ISBN 1903238374 ISBN13 9781903238370
Availability 0 units.
More About Jonathan Falla
Jonathan Falla has written award-winning dramas for stage and film, and has also written criticism, works on ethnography, musicology, travel, and medical journalism, with articles appearing in "The Economist "and "The Times Literary Supplement. "As a nurse, Falla has worked with aid agencies, including Save the Children, in countries in crisis all over the world--Nepal, Sudan, Burma, Uganda. He is also a musician and plays the lute in a professional quartet dedicated to Renaissance Spanish, French, Italian, and Shakespearian music. Jonathan Falla makes his home in Fife, Scotland with his wife and their new baby.
Reviews - What do customers think about Blue Poppies?
Jonathan Falla replies: Dec 2, 2004
Jonathan Falla writes: Bardo Monitor (above) takes me to task for not crediting Robert Ford in a preface to Blue Poppies. In Britain, it has not generally been the custom for novelists to acknowledge sources in this way, although some now do (perhaps on the American model). Many authors, myself included, feel that this is out of place in fiction, introducing a false air of authenticity and fact, when it is the job of fiction to tell stories. However, no disrespect to Robert Ford is intended. I have always made a scrupulous point of crediting Ford's book, both when I am invited to speak in public, and also in print - for example in the interview that BM cites. Ford is actually mentioned in the novel as living elsewhere - thereby making the point that it is not his story, specifically, that I retelling. Ford's situation in Tibet was the most obvious model for Blue Poppies, but by no means the only one. Much of the story, the character motivation, many points of detail and even certain scenes derive from Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Troilus & Criseyde'. Other major sources include Regis Evariste Huc (1851), Sven Hedin (1909) and Jamyang Norbu (1979). BM considers that Blue Poppies bears only a superficial relationship to the Buddhist Continuum. I don't know what the latter is. The novel is not about Buddhism, but concerns a young man learning the difference between selfish love and generous loyalty. JF.
Borrowing May 6, 2004
It is highly rated but not so great. As soon as I saw that it was about an radio operator in Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion, I knew where he got the story. I have an old paperback called "Captured in Tibet" by Robert Ford. He was an Englishman who ran a radio set on the Tibetan frontier, and against his better judgement was convinced to stay longer than he wanted and the Chinese grabbed him on the way in. They kept him locked up for 5 years and did a hideous brainwashing number on him (You don't hear that term much any more). Anyway, Ford is given no mention at all in a preface or anything which is poor form in my estimation, even though the story is only loosely based on the real thing. I did a web search on the author and Ford and came up with an interview in which he says: "1991 I was approached by a producer who wanted a feature film about Tibet. It was for me to find the story, and I came upon a memoir by Robert Ford who had been a radio
operator in Tibet." (...) He should have given some kind of acknowledgement. Ford's experience was so exceptional that he deserves recognition. The author says he also borrowed from other sources to add a romance into the mix. The book displays a superficial relationship to the Buddhist continuum. By the way, when I was reading "Captured In Tibet" I asked my lama friend at the time whether he had known Ford, because it took place in the his home province, Kham. He said, "Oh Yes. We know him. We call him Fodo"
Great Story May 3, 2003
This book is great. It gives a great story about a Tibetan village named Jyeko, and the trials that come to pass with the Communist invasion of Tibet in the 1950's. It also follows the lives of Scottish radio operator Jamie Wilson and a Tibetan outcast named Puton. It tells of love and trials. Of anger turning into unification in the face of neccesity. It is simply a great book.