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Tokyo Year Zero (Tokyo Trilogy 1) [Paperback]

David Peace
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2008 Tokyo Trilogy 1

Part one of David Peace's 'Tokyo Trilogy', and a stunning literary thriller in its own right, from the bestselling author of GB84 and The Damned Utd.

August 1946. One year on from surrender and Tokyo lies broken and bleeding at the feet of its American victors.

Against this extraordinary historical backdrop, Tokyo Year Zero opens with the discovery of the bodies of two young women in Shiba Park. Against his wishes, Detective Minami is assigned to the case; as he gets drawn ever deeper into these complex and horrific murders, he realises that his own past and secrets are indelibly linked to those of the dead women and their killer.

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Tokyo Year Zero (Tokyo Trilogy 1) + Occupied City + Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571231993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571231997
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Peace - named in 2003 as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists - was born and brought up in Yorkshire. He is the author of the Red Riding Quartet (Nineteen Seventy Four, Nineteen Seventy Seven, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty Three) which was adapted into an acclaimed three part Channel 4 series, GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Award, and The Damned Utd, the film version of which (adapted by Peter Morgan and starring Michael Sheen) was released in Spring 2009. Tokyo Year Zero and Occupied City are the first two books in his Tokyo Trilogy.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Tokyo Year Zero is further proof that David Peace is now one of the most ambitious and accomplished novelists of the modern era -- in any genre. He has always been an innovator, forging a striking synthesis between Noir crime writing and Yorkshire realism. Nineteen Seventy-Four was a visceral and atmospheric novel set in the year of the Silver Jubilee, with the Yorkshire Ripper at his sanguinary work. This book was the second of the Riding Quartet, and demonstrated what readers had come to expect -- a totally individual voice, with the characters (such as past-his-best journalist Jack Whitehead) memorably drawn.

Tokyo Year Zero, Peace's new novel, is another adroit synthesis, this time between the sprawling historical novel and the gritty crime genre. The author's picture of a city at war (the year is 1946) rivals that of any modern novelist in vividness and authenticity. It is one year on from the surrender, and Tokyo is struggling to maintain its pride after the American victory that destroyed its imperialist ambitions. The police force barely functions, and a variety of unpleasant individuals struggle for supremacy in Tokyo's thriving black market. Peace's protagonist, Detective Minami, is assigned a difficult case: the bodies of two women are found in Sheba Park, but as he begins to dig beneath the surface of an increasingly baffling and complex mystery, Minami finds (to his dismay) that his personal past -- and personal secrets -- are somehow involved with the murderer and his savage killings.

This first book in the Tokyo trilogy is as surprising and idiosyncratic an offering as we have come to expect from David Peace, and it's a safe bet that readers will be impatient for the remaining books in the sequence. --Barry Forshaw


'A searing piece, the narration taut, the prose spare and uncompromising ... the bleakness of the times is beautifully captured.'
-- Sunday Telegraph

'An original voice in crime fiction, David Peace's first novel in his latest trilogy is an exhilarating read [and a] compelling story.' -- Sunday Telegraph

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Mingo Bingo VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is the year after Hiroshima and in a shattered Tokyo Detective Minami investigates the murder of two young girls found close to each other in Shiba Park. The chief suspect is very quickly identified and charged and the majority of the book follows Minami as he searches for connections to a number of similar murders; all of which point to a hidden truth in his own past.

The murders and the identity of the killer are secondary to a mediation on the meaning of identity and are ultimately a metaphor for the birth of a new Japan- a country struggling to find itself after the devastation of American victory.

David Peace is a writer, for me, whose imagination and stylist inventiveness are barely contained by the robustness of his craft. He treads a very fine line between dazzling brilliance and unreadable pretentious twoddle. Never more so than here.

The plot points, the characters and the stylistic flourishes will be familiar to any reader of his Red Riding Quartet, but everything is turned up to eleven. We have the familiar corrupt cops, the lead character tortured by his past and searching for redemption. We have the betrayed family, the lust for prostitutes, the underworld father figures, the drugs and a killer- whose identity is a clue to the protagonist's shady past. All of these will be familiar to anyone who has read 1974 and 1977, as will be the cascading text, narrowing to a point of a single word, and the repeating mantras that make up such a bulk of the text.

Tokyo Year Zero is undoubtedly an impressive book, it is a beautiful evocation of time and place, written in a hugely distinctive style which can be both exhilarating and disturbing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitious repetitious repetitious 1 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel begins brightly enough. But it's repetitious. Peace uses an interesting technique of dropping an onomatopoeia into the text every few lines or repeating a character's thoughts over and over. Repetitious. When done well, it gives a section a bit of rhythm and an insight into the character's mindset. But it's repetitious.

The problem with the novel, though, is that Peace does this ALL the time. What starts off as something original, quickly becomes repetitious, then boring, then annoying, then absolutely infuriating. Original, boring, infuriating. Original, boring, infuriating. At first I was waiting to see what other tricks Peace had up his sleeve, but it turns out this is it. Infuriating, infuriating, infuriating. Repetitious. The passages he chooses to repeat become less and less suited to the technique as well. I want a sandwich. While at first it is the 'don don' sound of the reconstruction and rebuilding going on all around the city, a ham and cheese sandwich, later it seems like a child who's just discovered the copy and paste function on his word processor has got hold of the manuscript, I want a ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and mayonnaise, and flung random sentences into the narrative while no one was looking, lettuce and mayonnaise, lettuce and mayonnaise. Ham and cheese.

The novel is not even saved by a decent plot. There is a detective who has changed his name after returning from the war in China. And there are some murders, which are mostly solved by other people in scenes we don't witness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What is often remarked upon with David Peace's novels is the prose style. Of late he seems to have come in for some stick about his 'staccato' sentences, the short breathless bursts of prose, often the same phrase repeated over and over. It's true that in parts of Tokyo Year Zero the style gets a bit frustrating. You feel stifled by it, wishing - in the way you sometimes wish with a James Ellroy novel - that he'd mix it up a bit, allowing some sentences to stretch out a bit - to breathe a little.

But it's foolish to think Peace isn't using this prose style deliberately. If you feel stifled, it's because he wants you to feel stifled. He's enormously skilled at conjuring up the Tokyo of 1946, battered by American military might. Against this setting is the story of two young women discovered dead in Shiba Park. It's a dark, brooding story, and for me - on the whole - the stifled, incantatory prose style was perfect for the tale Peace chose to tell.

What none of the Amazon reviews of this book to date seem to have picked up on is that, as well as being an exercise in literary experimentation, this is a real page turner. It's a suspenseful thriller-esque plot, and it had me pretty gripped.

Not a comfortable read - but a clever, taut, powerful one.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 19 Jan 2009
God, I'm baffled by all the negative reaction to this novel. I thought it was just the most stunning, visceral, haunting and hallucinatory book I've ever read. Peace's style risks teetering into self-parody, but in my view he avoids it here - and the result of that risk-taking is to put you right inside the mind, the body, the soul of Detective Minami, to make you breathe the foul air of postwar Tokyo, to make you ache for his poor wife and children, and to dream his recurring nightmares.

It's exhausting, and it's far from easy or light-hearted, but please please please if it sounds like your kind of thing, don't let the low average rating on here put you off. It's Peace at his best - and that's saying something.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Excellent novel that is brilliantly-crafted. Rare for novels these days to be 'novel'. This is superbly written and gripping from beginning to end.
Published 1 month ago by Biffo
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it
My first David Peace book although I did watch the red riding trilogy on TV. I am quite simplistic in my reading likes. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Phil h
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult book, but a rewarding one.
I have read all of David Peace's earlier novels and so had an idea of what to expect when I started this first part of his Tokyo Trilogy, a series that is being written at the same... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr R
2.0 out of 5 stars ?????
.... I cannot really give an opinion of the story in this book as I never got past the first few may well be a very good book , but I just could not read it ! Read more
Published 21 months ago by "Beancooper of Warwick"
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same from Peace
There's no middle road with David Peace's writing style. Love it or hate it. The Tokyo Trilogy is along the lines of 'GB84' and the 'Red Riding' stuff, only bleaker and if... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Gramercy Riff
3.0 out of 5 stars More miso than hit
TYZ is a sordid crime novel located in Tokyo in the immediate aftermath of WW2. The blurb advises that its ultimate purpose is to explain the origins of modern Japan. Read more
Published on 9 May 2010 by Sporus
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary and BORING
My first and last ever book by this guy as he writes in a awful style. Great plot, great idea, great settings but awful style of writing and I gave up after reading 100 pages. Read more
Published on 10 April 2010 by Mr. Ruairi McGovern
2.0 out of 5 stars Battered, bombarded, confused: I raised the white flag of surrender
I couldn't get into this story at all. The premise is very interesting -- the narrator is investigating a double murder, exactly one year after the Japanese surrender and the end... Read more
Published on 31 Mar 2010 by General Accident
5.0 out of 5 stars Having some points of reference help.
Loved this book, living in Tokyo helped with some of the geography and references, but saying that coming from Leeds also helped enjoy his other works. Read more
Published on 11 May 2009 by Matthew Robin Best
1.0 out of 5 stars Style over substance
It's one thing for a writer to have a distinctive style but it's another thing when a writer allows style to get in the way of telling the story. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2009 by N. Morton
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