The City and The Other
Foreign and familiar experience in the works of David Peace – ‘Anti-crime’, transnational writing, ideology and the city voice
28th May @ 6.00pm
I’m looking at the Fiction of David Peace and, specifically, representations of the city in his work. Peace told me that when he wrote the first two books in his Tokyo trilogy he had a note pinned above his desk that said: ‘anti-crime’. I will explore the implications of this and how it connects to the ways in which Peace creates and resurrects the cities in which he sets his work. His novels cover a fascinating array of fictionalized, real crime events placed in city contexts. The Tokyo Trilogy recreates occupied, post-war Tokyo and explores problems of identity, struggle and defeat. The Red Riding Quartet addresses the notorious crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper and the endemic corruption of the Yorkshire Police and the consequential societal trauma. Both sets of works make key use of the city context and are valuable as an insight into transnational writing: how Peace mixes dialect and language to produce an authentic vision of a city and the visceral impact of the staccato, repetitive prose to heighten the atmosphere. Peace has spoken of his belief that crime fiction is, in essence, political writing, as the genre has the tools to deconstruct society’s anxieties at all social levels. Arguably, through this immersive approach, he has translated a ‘conservative mode of writing…into a postmodern idiom radically informed by the strategies of literary and artistic modernism.’ (Charles.) Indeed, his tackling of the ‘cultural dislocation faced by the émigré writer’ (Hart), Peace offers much for the transnational writer.
I was born in London, studied History at Oxford, then lived in São Paulo for almost ten years. I’ve worked in education for most of my adult life.