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Tokyo Year Zero (2007) By David Peace.

If this is your first David Peace novel, then you will love it as the gambits of repetition, mantra and leitmotiv are deployed by the author to create a taut, claustrophobic, seedy atmosphere leaving a thin film of human degradation all over the reader making you feel in need of a darn good wash.


Peace, like Irvine Welsh before him has a deeply disturbing ability to burrow his way into every nook and cranny of the worst parts of humanity and this made GB84 and the Damned United especially impressive works.


I felt like a real protagonist at the Miners Strike, and this book struck a massive chord within me, and the fictionalised account of Brian Clough’s stormy 44-day reign at Elland Road really evoked the times both in a footballing and social sense.


Delving into David Peace’s back catalogue of the so called “Yorkshire Noir” genre through the West Riding Quartet of books showed an author honing his skills which came together to produce GB84 and the Damned United, so I felt able to cut the guy a bit of slack reading the four books about the 1970’s underbelly of God’s Own County.


When I spied Tokyo Year Zero in the library I was like a kid at Christmas, beginning to read the thing in the bus station.


I admit to feeling badly let down, so this may cloud my judgement making this less than objective.


Hell, it’s a blog, not the London Book Review after all.


All the ingredients that drive Peace’s best work are present here. And how. This is the problem. Everything is done to death such as the narrative of a soldier, which requires you to follow it by jumping through masses of text and then going back over it.


Innovative in GB84. Here just bloody irritating.


In common with the West Riding books we are party to the investigation to a series of grubby murders in immediate post war Tokyo, and if I’m honest its just rehashed material placed in a different historical and geographical context.


The character of the Cop is pure Irvine Welsh’s Filth and just too reminiscent of previous Peace outings so I regret to report I knocked it on the head after 150 pages having lost the will to live a good 100 pages earlier.


 But if it is your intro to Peace then I refer the right honourable gentlemen to the answer I gave some moments ago.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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