Wednesday, November 24

What Next...Books

Under the Poppy

"Set in 1870s Brussel on the eve of war, Under the Poppy is the story of an eccentric cast of characters who come together under the roof of the titular brothel. Run by Decca and Rupert, Under the Poppy specializes in unique—to say the least—entertainments for a discriminating clientele. When Decca’s brother Istvan, a master puppeteer, rolls into town with his troupe of louche puppets in tow, he sets off a hot mess of unforeseen consequences.

Because, of course, Decca is in love with Rupert, Rupert is in love with Istvan, and Istvan’s in love with his puppets first and human beings afterward. The main characters’ love triangle takes place amidst the brothel’s debauchery and violence. As soldiers move in and war looms ever closer, both the Poppy’s employees and its owners are forced to perform increasingly intricate deceptions in order to keep themselves safe.

Under the Poppy plays with the fantastical. Though the novel is rooted in historical fiction, its drug-fueled excess, multiple narrative voices, and labyrinthine plot twists lend it an almost surreal quality. Koja’s vivid descriptions and opulent setting create a richly detailed backdrop to the characters’ skulduggery."


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