Red Poppies - An Epic Saga of Old Tibet

Red Poppies - An Epic Saga of Old Tibet

Product ID: 9512

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Author: Alai
Translator: Howard Goldblatt / Sylvia Li-chun Lin
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 416
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143028499

Description

Written and translated in shimmering, youthful prose, this novel explodes the myth of Tibet as a land of pious austerity. A riveting tale of a culture and era long gone and destined never to return.

Set in 1930s' Tibet, this extraordinary novel is narrated by the 'idiot' second son of powerful Chieftain Maichi. From a seven storey mountaintop fortress, this chieftain and his sons survey their estate and divert themselves with comely women and blood feuds.

One day a Han Chinese official appears with lavish gifts and a promise: plant these seeds and watch your earth multiply. Chieftain Maichi carpets his valley with opium, and the poppies squeeze out their white sap as if the earth were crying.

When rival chieftains seize the seeds, poppies are frantically grown at the expense of grain, and serfs begin to starve. While our narrator falls in and out of delirious carnal love, the balance of power grows fragile as snow, and by the time the Red Chinese arrive in 1950 the chieftains don't have a prayer.

Written and translated in shimmering, youthful prose, this novel explodes the myth of Tibet as a land of pious austerity. The first Tibetan epic by an ethnic Tibetan, it won China's top literary prize after its hard-won publication, and is set to become a classic.

This novel was rejected by numerous publishers over several years for its sensitive political content. Finally, an editor at China's prestigious People's Literature Publishing House fell in love with it and championed its publication. The novel was published in 1998 to critical acclaim and became an immediate bestseller, and in 2000 it won China's highest literary award, the Mao Dun Prize

EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:

Chinese Literature has never seen a work such as Red Poppies. It is a true masterpiece.
- Mo Yan, author of Red Sorgbum and The Republic of Wine

A riveting tale of a culture and era long gone and destined never to return. An important literary event as Tibetans inside China begin to write about their own culture.
- A T Grunfeld, author of the Making of Modern Tibet.

If we had a historian now, he'd be standing behind me, licking the tip of his pencil ..
- The narrator

THE TRANSLATOR:

Howard Goldblatt is the most widely respected translator of Chinese into English.

Contents

Translator's Note

PART I
Wild Thrushes
Shari
Sangye Dolma
Honoured Guest

PART II
Flowers in the Heart
Killing
The Earth Trembles

PART III
White Dreams
Sick
The New Sect Gelukpa
Silver

CHAPTER IV
Visitors
Women
Heads
Missued Cure
Flowering Ears
War of the Poppies

PART V
Tongue
Books
What Should I Fear?
The Smart One and the Idiot
The English Lady

PART VI
Stronghold
Barley
Female Chieftain
Dolma

PART VII
Fate and Love
Engagement
It's Happening
New Subjects

PART VIII
Border Market
News from the South
Family Feud
Going Home

PART IX
Miracle
Abdication
I'm Not Talking

PART X
The Killer
Looking Northward
Guest from Afar
Fast and Slow

PART XI
About the Future
They're Getting Old
The Chieftains
Syphilis

PART XII
Coloured People
Toilets
Artillery Fire
The Dust Settles