Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reading a scream

Maxine from Petrona commented on my Sunday post about 1974 by David Peace that it's like reading a scream. As a very short book review that works perfectly. It's a while since I've been so unsettled by a book. I find myself reading it in 20 to 50 page chunks, then putting it down and thinking 'fuck'. It's a complete headwrecker - so intense, visceral and gritty. The subject matter is the usual fare for crime fiction, but Peace's style and flair, and the deep sense of realism, is very unsettling. It's difficult to explain. It's compulsive and repellent. It draws you in at the same time it pushes you away. The equivalent of watching a horror movie from behind cushions. I'm thirty pages from the end and I almost afraid to continue. Brilliant stuff, but should be sold with uppers.

6 comments:

Mack said...

Rob, I read the entire quartet, 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983. They are all as intense. I don't think I have felt as thoroughly mentally assaulted as when reading this series. Brilliant stuff but hard on the reader. I have the television series in my queue but haven't had the energy to attempt it yet.

Bernadette said...

I never made it all the way through the books or the tv series, partly me being squeamish but also got a bit sick of relentless, single tone

Maxine said...

!!
I just found the experience of reading 1974 left me reeling so much I just could not read more of them.
I did watch the TV series but thought it pretty watered down cf the book I read - and in the further books, the "plot" was very obvious, not sure if the identity of the baddie was so obvious in the book(s) but it sure was in the film.

Mack said...

Maxine, I'm not surprised that the TV series is watered down. I couldn't imagine how much of the stuff in the books could be visualized.

It's been a while since I read the books but I don't remember the identity of the baddie being all that obvious. IIRC, the other books focus more on police corruption.

Rob Kitchin said...

The book is emotionally draining to read. The other books that I've had similar feelings when reading in the past couple of years would be Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin and R.J. Ellory A Quiet Belief in Angels. All great books, but not for the faint-hearted.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Saw it but didn't read it. Horrible but excellent.