11 December 2007

Graham Joyce, Smoking Poppy, 2001

A lonely and bitter Englishman goes to Chiang Mai in search of his daughter who is jailed on drug-smuggling charges, but is led further on a journey into the mysterious, spirit-haunted world of Thailand’s interior. Graham Joyce writes with a kind of contemporary, knowing, middle-aged English freshness; all the characters are sufficiently well-drawn to come alive vividly in the reader’s mind and the narrator never really loses his jaded cynicism throughout, though he finally succumbs to a rather belated coming-of-age as a proper parent to his two estranged twenty-something kids. An excellent book, one I would like to re-read in a few years.   PY

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