The ZONE genre worldwide books movies
the science fiction
fantasy horror &
mystery website
 
 
home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email

Smoking Poppy
Graham Joyce
Gollancz paperback £6.99

review by Debbie Moon

Danny Innes is a family man without a family. His daughter Charlie hasn't spoken to him for years, his son Phil is a Bible-basher, and he's just separated from his wife. When the Foreign Office informs him that Charlie is in a Thai jail, facing the death penalty for heroin smuggling, he sees some hope of resolving at least one of those broken relationships.
   Unfortunately, his self-styled 'best mate' Mick is determined not to let him face this alone - and Phil feels obliged to join them. Arriving at the filthy jail, they find themselves catapulted into a mystery - and an alien culture that none of them can comprehend. Their journey takes them to the very heart of the enigma of the poppy, beautiful and deadly - and each of them discovers their own heart of darkness on the way...
   Graham Joyce consolidates his reputation as one of Britain's finest writers with this beautiful, disturbing novel. Finding a passionate poetry under the surface of an ordinary blue-collar loser, he explores the ways family grow apart from each other, and the invisible ties that hold them together, straining for release but never quite able to escape.
   Joyce's real strength is his ability to seamlessly weld the supernatural with the physical, creating a world in which witchcraft and curses sit quite naturally alongside tourist treks and government red tape. His Thailand is by turn alien, banal, dangerous, and deeply spiritual - and yet always much more than a tourist clich´┐Ż. There may indeed be demons in the jungle, but the real dangers here are the demons already in the travellers' minds, and their experiences simply provide a canvas for those weaknesses and fears to play themselves out.
   Smoking Poppy is a gripping read, combining vivid, extraordinary adventures with a heartbreaking voyage of self-discovery. It's a journey not to be missed.
Smoking Poppy by Graham Joyce
Buy books at:
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email
copyright © 2001 - 2002 Pigasus Press