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Nineteen Eighty-Three: The Red Riding…

Nineteen Eighty-Three: The Red Riding Quartet, Book Four (Vintage… (edition 2010)

by David Peace

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341646,454 (3.79)27
Title:Nineteen Eighty-Three: The Red Riding Quartet, Book Four (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Authors:David Peace
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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Nineteen Eighty-Three by David Peace



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I'll put the same review on all four of them:
Nineteen Seventy-Four
Nineteen Seventy-Seven
Nineteen Eighty
Nineteen Eighty Three
I read them as a challenge - based on camaraderie with coworkers.
Once I started the series, didn't especially want to wimp out, and then was compelled to read thru to the last book to see if I could possibly figure out what the "ending" was.
I'm not faulting the author - it was a unique and compelling writing style and twisted plot with characters jumping back and forth between books.
I did it. I read them all. I think they got weirder and more difficult as they went along, but if you're looking for some intense, darkly challenging books - have at it.
Read in 2011. ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
The final book in the Red Riding quartet. This time the three main characters are a solicitor, a rent boy and a corrupt police officer. The story, as with the other books, goes back and forth in time and answers many of the questions raised in the first book. It was sometimes hard to follow, but it was well worth the read.

The quartet has to be read as one - there's no point starting one book and then going onto something else afterwards - the characters and actions are so complex you have to really put some time aside to work your way through everything. Having said that, they were absolutely worth the time taken. ( )
  Fluffyblue | May 5, 2011 |
Nineteen Seventy-Four
Nineteen Seventy-Seven
Nineteen Eighty
Nineteen Eighty-Three

I was inspired to read this crime quartet by arubabookwoman's superb review below. In her summary, she wrote "These four novels are amazing. They are not, however, for everyone. There are obscenities on every page. Brutality and violence abound, sometimes graphically described. Everyone is corrupt. The novels are bleak, gritty, cynical and despairing. If this description doesn't bother you, I highly recommend these books. Read as one, they are a masterpiece."

There is little I can add to this, except to say that Peace's writing is exceptional. Even though it can often be difficult to know who is talking or thinking, the way Peace gets inside people's heads so that his writing replicates how they think is astounding and, indeed, often poetic, despite the obscenity and graphic violence. I couldn't put these books down, even as they horrified me.
  rebeccanyc | Mar 31, 2011 |
These books (1974, 1977, 1980, 1nd 1983) collectively constitute The Red Riding Hood Quartet, a series of crime novels based on the Yorkshire Ripper murders. I had read the first in the series, Nineteen Seventy-four last year, and thought it would be a simple matter to pick up with Nineteen Seventy-seven (which BTW is on the 1001 list) and proceed. However, I soon determined that I needed to reread Nineteen Seventy-four, which I did, and when I finished Nineteen Seventy-seven, I had to immediately go onto Nineteen Eighty and then Nineteen Eighty-three. I can't remember when I've read so many books by the same author in such a concentrated amount of time. (I devoured these over several days). In my view, these four books can only be read as one novel.

The first book in the series is narrated by a novice crime reporter, and concerned the solving of a series of child murders, some of which occurred several years before 1974, when the book is set. It is grim and bleak, and about terrible people doing terrible things. In this book, we are introduced to some of the corrupt policemen who are the core of this series.

Nineteen Seventy-seven is narrated by Jack Whitehead, a senior crime reporter who had made an appearance in the first book as the arrogant, wisecracking rival of the narrator in the first book. Now that we are in his mind, we can see that he is a psychological wreck, with self-induced demons haunting him.

Whitehead's sections alternate with sections narrated by Bobby Fraser, a policeman who made a brief but important appearance in the first book. In that book, he was a rookie, and was ethical with a sense of fair play. Three years later, he is unrecognizable--corrupt and violent.

In Nineteen Seventy-seven the Ripper murders begin, but are not solved. As in Nineteen Seventy-four, the narrative flows freely back and forth in time, and is for the most part in stream of consciousness. It is again a novel without a hero, full of terrible people.

In Nineteen Eighty the murders continue, and we meet the first character we can like. Peter Hunter, an investigator from another district, is sent to review the Ripper investigation to determine whether the failure to solve the case is due to incompetence, or to some clue that has been overlooked. Again the narrative travels loosely back and forth in time, and more and more of the rampant police corruption becomes known to the reader.

Each of these first three novels ends with a huge bang, although we sometimes are not entirely sure what actually happened. It is not until the ensuing book that we are entirely aware of what happened, and the ramifications it has for the characters and the investigation.

Nineteen Eight-three is narrated from the pov of three characters. John Piggot, a sleazy solicitor who is trying to prove that the man convicted of the child murders in the first book was framed, narrates his sections in the first person. BJ, a "rent boy" who has made appearances in the first three novels, narrates his sections, referring to himself in the second person. The final sections are told from the point of view of a corrupt police official.

Nineteen Eight-three winds and unwinds, not unlike a symphonic exposition, all the threads begun in the first novel. It shifts back and forth in time over nearly twenty years. As in the first three novels, it also ends with a bang, and again we are not quite sure of all of the ramifications. Unfortunately, there will be no succeeding books to enlighten us.

These four novels are amazing. They are not, however, for everyone. There are obscenties on every page. Brutality and violence abound, sometimes graphicly described. Everyone is corrupt. The novels are bleak, gritty, cynical and despairing. If this description doesn't bother you, I highly recommend these books. Read as one, they are a masterpiece. ( )
1 vote arubabookwoman | Mar 14, 2011 |
Red Riding quartet (David Peace)

A recent reviewer of Peace's book "Occupied City" described it as "unreadable". I bought it and before I started was somewhat encouraged by a much more positive review by a Jake Kerridge. But even that ended with ".......You will occasionally feel glad as you read that nobody else writes like Peace, but you will put the book down amazed and delighted that at least one person does." Well that proved to be the case as far as the comma.

I bought the Red Riding quartet for a song in the Borders sale the last day before it closed for good. The basic subject seemed much more approachable — after all dammit they'd just been made into a TV mini-series. After struggling through I can report that they are also unreadable which is probably why they were still in the sale on the last day, most Borders customers being more savvy about choosing reading material than me. They are set mostly in Yorkshire but Manchester and Preston also appear. Some of the characters are common to all the books but corrupt coppers take the leading parts. There are references to real events such as the hunt for the "Yorkshire Ripper" (Peter Sutcliffe in real life) and perhaps people better informed about the place and the times could pick out more. But it is a work of fiction and even it was written in a more readable style it would be a mistake to try to make the links. Don't buy or even borrow. ( )
  PossMan | Apr 5, 2010 |
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'No more dead dogs and slashed swans for us,' whispered Dick Alderman, like this was good news - It wasn't.
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David Peace concludes his 'Red Riding Quartet' and once again the Ripper is the backdrop for a roller-coaster of fear and corruption.

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