Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Stuff I've Read: Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace

Grabbed this book while visitng an international book shop in London with a bunch of Joy's internet friends, and since it was something new and I hadn't read a prose book in a while I decided to pick it up.

The setting is in and around Tokyo in the year since the end of World War Two, and the plot is about the... more than slightly overstressed Detective Minami as he attempts to solve what intially was thought to be just two murders in an isolated park, but has to deal with the reforms enforced by the American occupying army, the in-fighting within the Japanese policeforce itself, the rise of the Yakuza and the general shittiness of being stuck in post-war Japan. Oh, and lice.

Although I am familiar with Peace's work, he wrote the Red Riding Trilogy and the Damned United, but Year Zero was the first actual book of his that I've read. The style that the book is written in is from the perspective of the detective, and often goes into stream of conciousness to reflect his fraying mental state.

The setting is fascinating, as you can see elements of modern Japan beginning to form while the Fascist regime is fading, while it pretty much shows you the many different ways that the country has gone down the drain, both from the effects of the War and the aftermath too.

Gets particularly grim at time, which should be obvious as soon as you get a few pages into the book. The fact that it appears to be based on a real series of murders pretty much makes this a given. But despite all of that, it does come across as both a good crime novel as well as a study of a period of history that I wasn't too familiar with, with most of my studying about the WWII and following setting being from a Britain/US/Germany/USSR perspective.


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