|Red Poppies, the (1998) [Novel]|
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(From the publisher):
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 worshippers. Set in the eastern part of the country, whose autocratic chieftains received their power to govern from Chinese emperors in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, this novel is about a feudal society in full, hothouse bloom. Lavish, sensual lifestyles, passionate romance, and bloody feuds take center stage in a sweeping historical tale that does for Tibet what the works of Garcia Marquez have done for Colombia and those of Faulkner have done for the American South.
Red Poppies is the story of the Maichi family, its powerful chieftain, his Han Chinese wife, his first son and presumptive heir, and his second, "idiot" son, the novel's narrator and unlikely hero. The time is the 1930s, the setting a stone fortress overlooking all the family rules: the arid plains of eastern Tibet, and a thinly scattered populace of peasant farmers, merchants, and ineffectual, often comical local lamas. A feud breaks out with a neighboring chieftain; an emissary from the Chinese Nationalists comes to the Maichis' aid with the tools of modern warfare. In exchange, fields of bright red poppies, valuable in the Nationalist-sponsored heroin trade, are to be planted instead of grain in a deal that makes the family even richer and earns them the enmity of nearly everyone.
Original title: Chen ai lou ding
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Asia