Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
GB84 Paperback – March 1, 2004
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
“It’s history as noir in the style of James Ellroy, political and compelling."
—Brooklyn Magazine, Eight Books to Read in November
“Peace is known more for his Red Riding Quartet, but, to my mind, this retronymic dystopia is his best book. Originally released in 2004 — twenty years, obviously, after 1984 — and set in Thatcherite England, the novel is an epic political hothouse and construction of genius that is, if anything, grossly underrated."
—Flavorwire, 50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry Books of 2014
“This is a big book about one of the most important struggles in British history... As a novelistic rendering of history, GB84 is first rate."
—Barnes & Noble Review
“A behemoth of British fiction."
—Flavorwire, Must-Reads for November 2014
“A curious, intense, formally innovative thriller from the Herman Melville of soccer fiction."
—WORD Bookstores, Books of the Week, on Largehearted Boy
“Haunting, seminal, bleak, iconic, furied... It’s a necessary novel, vital even.”
“A conspiracy thriller laced with apocalyptic poetry.”
“The writing is clever, terse, incisive... This mammoth conspiracy tale is a thriller daubed with horror.”
“Superb... [Peace] has turned the whole episode into a gripping thriller, with no detriment to documentary realis... GB84 is a bold mixture of thriller, monologue, theatre script, chants, slogans, crime story, sexual subplot and documentary fiction... This is an epic novel...a crowded, ambitious, quick-moving novel, and as such is the literary equal of the epic events it commemorates.”
“A violently original novel.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“The book is so compelling... Peace’s terse, urgent sentences are perfectly suited to depicting a large-scale confrontation. The tactics and resources of both sides, their histories, their mindsets, the likely battlefields—all are vividly laid out in little more than a few paragraphs. Alliteration and repetition establish a marching rhythm like massing pickets or policemen... Only a rare political novel manages that.”
—London Review of Books
November Picks, Entomology of a Bookworm --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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 has been adapted into a three part Channel 4 series that aired in Spring 2009, 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, the first part of his acclaimed Tokyo Trilogy, was published in 2007, and the second part, Occupied City, in 2009.
Top customer reviews
"The Jew" is a rabble-rousing reactionary publicist who uses the tabloids and his shadowy contacts to foment discontent with the strikers. He adores Margaret Thatcher. "His eyes never leave her face; hope never leaves his heart." So reports after a visit by the Prime Minister the "Jew" Stephen Sweet's henchman, Neil Fontaine. Neil carries out subversion to undermine the strike. This strand of the novel intertwines with Terry Winters, who carries out orders of "King Arthur," the President of the militant miners. Terry in turn courts Diane, who it turns out was the wife of Malcolm Morris. His third plot-strand spins out in less clear fashion, but he evidently has a long career, from Ulster 1969 on, and he has been compromised to work for the government. Why exactly, typically here, is occluded.
Peace blurs a lot. His language is so sparse and declamatory that it's rare to have any descriptive passages that stand out. His characters' tell of their endless driving and diversion, and while every motorway junction and byway is recorded obsessively, the look and feel of England when "two tribes go to war" is dulled, intentionally. It's a vaguely told tale for all its daily detail, in fifty-two chapters that dutifully track these main characters as they log in and spy on each other. They all study the strategy of the radical miners who slowly must accept the scabs as the majority of "working miners" looms to spell doom for the "Red Guard" in Thatcher's version of a ruthless State. The money spent, ironically, on suppressing the strike, by police, far outweighs whatever costs have accrued in an industry that appears to the State to have outlived its economic viability. Peace to his credit, while clearly on the side of the miners, shows too their increasing bitterness and the revenge they mete out on these South and West Yorkshire "working miners" as the situation grows desperate over 1984.
Peace does not belabor this, but the tension between scabs and strikers tears apart communities and families. The dawn battles as strikers try to protest at the mines and the police and scabs try to enter, day after day for hundreds of days, wears down everyone. Through one "Peter" and especially a fellow striker, Martin Daly, we get more stream-of-consciousness journals or a run of sensory impressions of what those such as Terry, more removed from the pits, don't encounter each mine shift. This oddness sinks in: in fog and dimness, "blokes hanging from trees" try to evade the police batons below, and the waiting dogs. The brutality of these scenes proves Peace's point in "GB84."
One striker comes back after a beating, with new teeth. "Police State took them out, he laughs. Welfare State put them back in." This gallows humor is very rare. This book kept me reading late into the night, but I could not explain why. The foregone nature of the fate of the miners, nevertheless, does not diminish the power of Peace's bleak portrayal of a crumbling British mindset, where men cannot resist the power of an armed force bent on crushing resistance and eliminating any concession by the miners. This may or may not be totally true, for Peace, who gives the sources that inspired his admitted fiction, may slant his emphasis accordingly to heighten what seem still very scant asides to a fylfot, lapses unexplained by one character into brief bits of Old or Middle English, or extreme right-wing leanings that, in the actions of "The Jew," at times near caricature rather than profile. He edges towards parody in some of these violent scenes. Peace warps some characters and leaves certain motivations and consequences under-explained, intentionally if frustratingly given the obvious attention to structure and chronicling which a year's worth of chapters demonstrates well.
In closing, what Tinkerbell in some italicized ravings into Shakespearean language and allusion calls "the children of a hasty marriage" may stand for the alliances between miners and unions which are undermined by blackmail, tape recorders, Libyans, foreign bank accounts, Fleet Street, jailers, the law, panic and desperation of miners losing homes, families, and livelihoods, and unrelenting pressure to cross picket lines. Peace offers no solutions. This novel provides readers decades later a challenge as terms may elude non-British readers, but he forces us to look at this divide beyond soundbites or slogans. He takes pains to show much, while he also makes sure to keep a lot hidden.