Right, then. All linking being out of the way...has anyone else here read Peace? I'm midway through the Red Riding Quartet, having finished all that's out of the Tokyo Trilogy, and I'm absolutely in love with this man's work. Which is an odd thing to say, given the topics he writes about (and, if anything, his books are darker than the films based on them, as I observed here), but something about his books compels reading.
They're not for the faint of heart; even his protagonists do horrible things to themselves and to other people, and the worlds he writes about (Yorkshire in the seventies; Tokyo just after WWII) are decaying and sordid. Things seldom end well; if you're the protagonist in a Peace novel you can bet that you'll end up insane, dead, or insane then dead. And yet, Peace shows the desperation of these times and men so effectively that one can't help but be sucked in.
Recently, I came across a 'blog called k-punk, and the author there has several posts on Peace, including this one: "'Can the World be as Bad as it Seems?' David Peace and Negative Theodicy". In that post, the author gets to what I think is the heart of Peace's relationship with the sordid:
In Peace's hands, this question becomes an urgent theological enquiry, the very relentlessness of the sadness and misery he recounts calling forth an absent God, a God who is experienced as absence, the great light eclipsed by the world's unending tears. The deeply ambivalent TG-esque preacher Reverend Laws (who, TG-like, replaces "I" with "E" and "the" with "thee") may be the one who can put us in touch with this God, the Abandoned Christ who is himself forsaken, the redeemer who is not the creator. But the world, the sad, desolated world, is full of angels whose wings have either been shorn off, reduced to stubble, or which have grown into gigantic, dirty monstrosities... addict angels hooked on alcohol, casual but incessant lusts, and the trash of the consumer society that is struggling to be born out of the wreckage of the Fordist social consensus... angels whose ultimate response to the world is puking (everyone pukes in Peace's books), throwing up the whiskies and the undercooked crispy pancakes, but never being able to purge any of it, never being able to take flight.
Peace is, in The Red Riding Quartet, clearly interested in religion; at one point in Nineteen Seventy Seven, Jack Whitehead finds his thoughts about the Yorkshire Ripper and the pornography ring he's uncovered mixing with images of Christ on the Cross; the suffering Christ and the suffering world seem to be linked, but the only way out Whitehead can finally discover is an amateur lobotomy at the hands of an insane preacher. From what I understand of the way the Quartet ends, it's not so redemptive as the filmed adaptations--Peace seems to be a pessimist in many ways regarding the hope for change in this world (of course, his next novel--due out in 2012--is Tokyo Regained, which holds out a promise, at least, of some sort of redemption).
[I notice that I've not said anything about Peace's prose style, which I've seen compared to Ellroy in several places. I've run on too long for an introductory post already, so let me just say that I find Peace's voice incantatory, moving--powerfully pulling the reader along toward the final dissolution that replaces resolution in the books].
Has anyone else here read these books?
Edited by NBooth, 24 July 2011 - 09:41 AM.