poppy

This Book, I Love. (#BBAW Day 4)

Today is Day #4 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  Our task (or goal) this time is to recommend, promote, shout about, or “pimp out” a book we have discovered that we feel needs and deserves more love & attention. 

As our host states:  One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day. Get creative! Maybe share snippets from other bloggers who have reviewed it or make some fun art to get your message across.

Originally, I was going to blather on about multiple books – one from each major genre that I have read over the past few years; but, I realized that was going to be a lot of work and people would probably stop reading.  So, nearly impossible as this is, I have narrowed down that original list to just one book which I read rather randomly, fell in love with, and really feel deserves more attention.  It is a book I have spoken of on a few occasions, but with good reason!

The Book: Under the Poppy

The Author: Kathe Koja

My Full Review: Click Here

Where/Why Bought: At Borders – Because I fell in love with the cover!

A Brief Synopsis:

If you can imagine a marriage between the coy, tongue-in-cheek, clever mysteries of Agatha Christie and the melancholic, whimsical, romantic lyricism of Shakespeare, then perhaps you have an understanding of what Kathe Koja has created with Under the Poppy.  The place is 1870s Brussels, amidst what one assumes is the beginnings of the Franco-Prussian War.  The book’s main players – Rupert Bok and Istvan – are life-long lovers, drawn together in boyhood, pulled apart by circumstances.  The two, in their youth, somehow became entangled with the darkest, most powerful and secretive of high-society.  That entanglement, coupled with the two’s dangerous romance, results in a perpetual cat-and-mouse game between the story’s antagonists (de Metz and his servants – the General, in particular) and the puppeteer-players. 

If ever the phrase “all the world’s a stage / and all the men and women merely players” were to fit a novel – this would be that novel.  Koja leaves the reader stunned by the brutal honesty of the story – no punches are pulled, and yet the tale is told so beautifully, so passionately, and so artistically, it becomes hard, at times, to pull one’s self off of this stage and remember that we are only the audience to this bittersweet drama. 


I have given away a few copies of this book to folks who I think (hope) will enjoy it.  It’s also on the list of recommendations/suggestions for my upcoming reading event (October’s “The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event“).

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19 thoughts on “This Book, I Love. (#BBAW Day 4)

  1. Of course you chose this book! I am very grateful that you sent me a copy and it’s on the list to be read this month, or at the most, next month. Looking forward to it, although I think I’ll probablt have to be in the modd for it. It doesn’t look like an easy read when I’m tired, etc.

    1. You’re definitely right about that – the prose is rather experimental and poetic, and the plot-line is not entirely straightforward, so it does take a bit of effort… but it was worth it, to me! It really felt like reading a live-action drama in prose, if that makes any sense.

  2. You’ve certainly convinced me! That cover is so mysterious and dramatic — I can see why you would fall in love with it. Sounds like an excellent read for fall, too. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  3. I just bought a copy based on Memory’s recommendation for this one! I can’t wait to read it. You both make it sound like a must read now kind of book!

    1. Fantastic! It was a very appropriate late-Fall/early Winter kind of book, actually. But I’m sure it’s brilliant anytime… I just remember reading it in January or February and thinking: “This is perfect!”

  4. Oh my goodness. I meant to read this book after it first came out, I LOVE THE COVER, and I completely forgot about it! Thank you for reminding me! Am I the only one who thinks of Neil Gaiman when I see that cover? I’m adding it to my get it soon list!

    1. Yay! It was one of my favorites of 2011 (it was the first book I read last year) and I still think about it all the time. It’s just so very different from anything else out there.

      The cover is amazing! I had never heard of the book, but I saw it displayed at the bookstore when it first came out… thought about it for a while and eventually went back to get it. Very glad that I did!

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