- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From the Publisher
"Under the Poppy is unlike anything I’ve ever read, a world unto itself, spun out of fevered, sensual prose and vivid, compelling characters."
"Koja has a ventriloquist’s skill when it comes to inhabiting the voices of her characters . . . A gothic, glam-rock take on love and sex and death that reads a little like what would happen if Sarah Waters and Angela Carter played a drunken game of Exquisite Corpse in a brothel, Under the Poppy will make you want to get out your very finest crushed velvet, drink a couple bottles of wine, and do something a little bit illegal with someone very good-looking. In other words, it’s a winner."
"All the elements of a great novel are present in Koja’s work: from suspense and intrigue to undying love and toxic jealousies, this highly developed read is brimming with imaginative flair and originality."
"This book is different, magical, seductive, and strange. However, there are books to which "Poppy" has ties, however wispy: think The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera mixed with The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek lightened with Fanny Hill by John Cleland and layered with The Satanic Verses, A Passage to India, and Mrs. Dalloway."
—Bethanne Patrick, Beyond the Margins
"People will probably love this book or hate itpossibly both. But let me just say that it would take an author of extraordinary talent to open with a scene of a woman being sodomized by a ventriloquist’s dummy and make me want to keep reading.
"And Kathe Koja is that talented. Five stars."
—Speak Its Name
"The velvet and brocade, the rips and tears, the music and theater, you see it all as you read about what the denizens of the Poppy do to stay in business, stay ahead of the tide, stay alive."
—Colleen Mondor, Chasing Ray
"Frequently changing viewpoints and fluid segues in and out of flashback illuminate actions readers have already witnessed. Part of the fun is heading into the past after knowing the future; even when you know where the story will go, you wonder what will happen next."
—Ann Arbor Observer
"The brothel of Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy requires no time and space coordinates. It is a fictional universe unto itself—rich and bawdy and violent and sad, with a beating human heart underneath. I love Koja’s daring and flair."
—Louis Bayard (The Black Tower)
"I loved Under the Poppy. It pours like chocolate—laced with brandy; sexy and utterly compelling!"
—Ellen Kushner (Swordspoint)
"Throughout the story there is an undercurrent of darkness. I can think of no better way than this to describe it and it keeps you reading, pulls you on and on through the narrative. Tied into this sense of the creeping grotesque is the fact that Koja is skilled at depicting how close to insanity art can come. I have fond memories of the mad genius of Skin—how far Koja was willing to push her story and her characters for the sake of their art and there is a similar feeling here. Istvan is driven and he cannot be anything other than what he is—a player, an actor and puppeteer. At the same time, he is drawn to Rupert and Rupert to him. Their relationship is painfully real—nothing is perfect or sugar-coated. They hurt each other, they try to mend their rifts, attempt forgiveness and do their best to accept the other as they are. It’s superbly done."
—Girl on Book Action
"Few books I’ve read about the theater capture its dazzle as luminously as this one does. The performances are integral to the plotline; one cares about the performances because one cares about the characters, and one cares about the characters in part because of how they perform. Intelligent descriptions and a compelling cast make reading Poppy an intense, lingering experience
. Each section was a burst of images. I wanted to read it as slowly as I might eat a rich meal—savoring each bite before taking another."
—Rachel Swirsky, Cascadia Subduction Zone
"Despite all the trappings of puppets, sex shows, stabbings, and drawing-room treachery, this is a love story about how, sometimes despite themselves, Rupert, Istvan, and their friends have created a family. . . . she creates an atmospheric tale for those who like their historical fiction on the dark and lurid side. Those readers who enjoyed Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin or Sarah Water’s Fingersmith will find similar themes."
"A page turner with riveting language and close attention to sensory detail. Set in late 19th-century Brussels, the story follows the adventures of puppeteer Istvan and brothel owner Rupert who bond as friends and lovers."
"Koja can pack a lot Dickensian humor into a sentence . . . [she] takes a page from Victorian lit in her writerliness, and she reveals human nature like someone slipped her the manual."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"This book made me drunk. Koja’s language is at its poetic best, and the epic drama had me digging my nails into my palms. It’s like a Tom Waits hurdy-gurdy loser’s lament come to life, as sinister as a dark circus."
—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing