Occupied City by David Peace

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Synopsis

A fierce, exquisitely dark novel that plunges us into post–World War II Occupied Japan in a Rashomon-like retelling of a mass poisoning (based on an actual event), its aftermath, and the hidden wartime atrocities that led to the crime.

On January 26, 1948, a man identifying himself as a public health official arrives at a bank in Tokyo. There has been an outbreak of dysentery in the neighborhood, he explains, and he has been assigned by Occupation authorities to treat everyone who might have been exposed to the disease. Soon after drinking the medicine he administers, twelve employees are dead, four are unconscious, and the “official” has fled . . .

Twelve voices tell the story of the murder from different perspectives. One of the victims speaks, for all the victims, from the grave. We read the increasingly mad notes of one of the case detectives, the desperate letters of an American occupier, the testimony of a traumatized survivor. We meet a journalist, a gangster-turned-businessman, an “occult detective,” a Soviet soldier, a well-known painter. Each voice enlarges and deepens the portrait of a city and a people making their way out of a war-induced hell.

Occupied City immerses us in an extreme time and place with a brilliantly idiosyncratic, expressionistic, mesmerizing narrative. It is a stunningly audacious work of fiction from a singular writer.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About David Peace

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David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family. He wrote the Red Riding Quartet from 1999 to 2002, and has since written two more novels, The Damned United and Tokyo Year Zero. In May 2008 his work was the subject of a South Bank Show.
 
Published January 28, 2010 by Vintage. 290 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Occupied City

Kirkus Reviews

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A man walks into a Tokyo bank, and when he walks out, 12 of its 16 employees are dead.

Mar 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

Publishers Weekly

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Set in 1948 and based on a Japanese murder case, Peace's second novel in his Tokyo trilogy (after Tokyo Year Zero ) is a tour de force. One afternoon, just a

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

Publishers Weekly

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If ever a book demanded a full cast audio enactment, it would be this unconventional novel based on an infamous real event: the 1948 fatal poisoning of 12 people in a Tokyo bank. In this second book i

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

The New York Times

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A real-life mass poisoning in Tokyo in 1948, possibly linked to notorious wartime medical experiments, is the basis for this highly original crime novel.

Mar 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

The Guardian

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That question runs through Occupied City, the second part of a projected novel trilogy, and David Peace's sequence is heading towards an unsettling conclusion: that the dream was built – or rebuilt – on a nightmarish substrate of postwar brutality.

Aug 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

The Telegraph

A journalist, whose newspaper cuttings litter his account, falls .

Aug 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Occupied City

Mysterious Reviews

Examples of other chapters include passages from the investigating detective's notebook (written as one long paragraph per entry), letters from an American medical officer to both his wife and commander detailing his investigation into the potential development of biological weapons by the Japane...

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