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Jonathan Falla weaves a powerful tale of love and war, exile and homecoming...and of one man’s desire to lose himself in a foreign land, only to find himself caught in a time of chaos and change.Blue PoppiesThe year is 1950 and, as the world recovers from the ravages of World War II, the Chinese army is perched on the border of a fragile land awaiting its destiny. Jamie Wilson, a young Scottish wireless operator and veteran of the war, has just arrived in the remote Tibetan village of Jyeko. He has come on business--to establish a radio outpost--but his journey will resonate much more deeply. Like those who have traveled to this place before him, Jamie, the Ying-gi-li, is mesmerized by the majestic mountain ranges and enigmatic people, but he will also find an uncommon refuge in its unyielding beauty and in the arms of the willful Puton, a young widow cast out by the people of Jyeko. Inexorably drawn together by a shared loneliness, Jamie and Puton discover a rare passion and the promise of reconnection and belonging--until the voice of Radio Peking crackles over the airwaves, announcing the imminent advance of the Chinese army. Amid the ensuing violence and tumult, Jamie and Puton must embrace their fate and that of the remarkable land that has brought them together. What lies before them and the people of Jyeko is a harrowing journey across a breathtaking landscape...and an extraordinary tale of pride and loyalty, survival and awakening.From the Trade Paperback edition.read more
In 1950 young Jamie Wilson, a Scottish wireless operator, is hired to establish a radio outpost in the village of Jyeko, Tibet. It is a remote outpost and Jamie has few friends, a few monks from the local lamasery. A young, disabled widow, Puton, and her daughter are brought in to keep house for him. Puton came to Jyeko from Lhasa with her tax collector husband and is considered “bad luck” to the villagers because of her eyebrows (which meet in the middle) and her “big city” ways. Across the river is a small outpost of the Nationalist Chinese Army. Soon the familiar routines are tossed about with the arrival of the Communists who overthrow the Nationalists. And an act of violence by an unknown perpetrator puts the whole village into jeopardy.I found the book to be interesting and informative. It presented a slightly different picture of Tibet than others I have read, particularly as it took place in eastern Tibet away from the influence of Lhasa. But I never felt much warmth towards any of the characters. I read it and will release it from my library.read more
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The American debut novel of Scottish playwright Falla is an intense tale of exile on a number of levels, involving bittersweet love, war, bravery, sacrifice and betrayal. In Jyeko, a town in a remote eastern province of Tibet in 1950, young Scottish adventurer Jamie Wilson, a WWII veteran, is hired to establish a radio outpost for Lhasa. Jamie is mesmerized by the stark beauty of Tibet and puzzled by its enigmatic people, who one moment are peace loving and religious, the next violent and barbarous. The cheery machinations of Buddhist monk Khenpo Nima link Jamie's fate with that of a young woman, Puton, and her daughter. Puton is considered unlucky both because of who she is, the widow of a hated tax collector, and because she is handicapped and walks with the aid of a stick. Hired by Khenpo Nima to be Jamie's housekeeper, Puton soon becomes his lover as well. After the Communist Chinese invade Tibet and establish a garrison in Jyeko, the uneasy truce between villagers and soldiers is upset by a brutal outbreak of violence, and the whole town must flee or face certain death. The townspeople refuse to allow Puton and her child to accompany them, and Jamie abandons her to her fate, but remains hopeful that he can somehow rescue her. The journey, which changes course a number of times, is harrowing, as the vagabond Tibetans time and again outwit the Chinese. Falla risks much in making Jamie a fallible, often selfish protagonist, and the detached coolness of his prose can be off-putting. At its best, however, the novel is as bracing as mountain air, and the heart-wrenching conclusion comes to seem inevitable. (Feb. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved