Red Poppies by Alai

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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 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. A "swashbuckling novel" (New York Times Book Review), 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.

About Alai

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ALAI is an ethnic Tibetan who lives in Sichuan, China. He is the author of several short-story collections and the editor of China's largest science-fiction journal, "Science Fiction World". Howard Goldblatt has taught modern Chinese literature and culture for more than a quarter of a century. The foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in the West and a former Guggenheim Fellow, he teaches at the University of Notre Dame and lives in Indiana. Sylvia Li-chun Lin Associate Professor Department of East Asian Languages and Culture Executive Fellow, College of Arts and Lettersnbsp; DegreesB.A., M.A., Tamkang University; M.A., St. John's University; M.A., University of Oregon; Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley Research ProfileLin's areas of research are modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, Chinese literature from Taiwan, representation of atrocity, late Imperial culture, film, literary journals, narrative theories, language and nationalism, women's studies. Her recent publication includes Representing Atrocity in Taiwan: The 2/28 Incident and White Terror in Fiction and Film. (Columbia UP, 2007). Lin is currently working a second book manuscript on atrocity and documentary films. Lin was awarded the Translation of the Year Prize, the Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, and research grants from the University of Notre Dame and the CCK Foundation.
Published May 6, 2003 by Mariner Books. 441 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As the outside world intrudes and the Red army takes over, he ruefully recalls the historian who once told him “history means learning about today and tomorrow from yesterday.” The author, himself an ethnic Tibetan who lives in Sichuan, eschews conventional chronology and epic sweep in favor of a...

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Publishers Weekly

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Young Master attains manhood by sleeping with his mother's maid, makes friends with the son of the family's indentured executioner and learns much from such visitors as the Han special emissary, who promises to enrich the Maiqi chieftain if he will plant opium poppies.

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Project MUSE

Written by one of the most exciting Chinese writers to appear in English since 1988—when Zhang Xianliang's Half of Man Is Woman made it clear that something new was happening in the Middle Kingdom—Alai's Red Poppies arrives as an unforgiving portrait of life in outer Tibet that no amount of feel-...

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