What the critics thought of Red or Dead by David Peace, Birds and People by Mark Cocker and The Kills by Richard House”Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. They’re the first three words of Red or Dead and repetition is soon established as both a theme and a style.” So began Jonathan Wilson’s New Statesman review of David Peace’s novel based on the triumphant career, and sad retirement, of the former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. Appropriately, it was an observation repeatedly picked up by other critics. Peace regards football as “a repetitive and at times almost incantatory ritual”, claimed an unconvinced DJ Taylor in the Independent, before concluding that we can only assume the book was written “for that most reliable, persistent and forgiving audience: himself”. At least Tim Martin in the Telegraph attempted to explain Peace’s technique: “He wants us to experience each slow step on Shankly’s trudge to glory, so he puts the reader through pages and pages of endless iteration.” But ultimately, and paradoxically, claimed Leo Robson in the Sunday Times, the novel is “at its liveliest when it finally calms down. The shift from the frenzy and ‘determination’ of Shankly’s heyday to the reflection and sense of aftermath in …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books