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GB84 Paperback – March 4, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

“Profoundly moving."
Bookslut

“Haunting, seminal, bleak, iconic, furied... It’s a necessary novel, vital even.”
The Observer

“A conspiracy thriller laced with apocalyptic poetry.”
The Independent

“The writing is clever, terse, incisive... This mammoth conspiracy tale is a thriller daubed with horror.”
The Scotsman

“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.”
The Guardian

“A violently original novel.”
The Times

“Exhilarating... Compelling.”
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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (March 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571214452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571214457
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,330,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
"The Iron Lady would vanquish King Coal." So portends this struggle between Thatcher and Arthur Scargill, whether privatization and capitalism or nationalization and collective control would win, when pitted against miners on strike, or scabbing, between March 1984 and 1985. This may not seem promising content for a novel, but David Peace drills down into densely patterned, intricately plotted, yet superficially simply told narratives that track a few men committed to different goals during this grim year. They are predestined to meet.

"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.
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This is a unique treatment of the clash between the miners and Mrs. Thatcher, in the tradition of Kes, Brassed Off and now Pride. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book but it was a very moving treatment of a contentious topic. Having read Orwell and gone down a mine (if only a training one), I would not want anyone to work down the mines. Moreover, I have mixed views of trade unions and their history, and I was no admirer of Mr. Scargill, but this book exposes what I do believe were the twisted values of Thatcherism and her "selfish society", even if society did not exist
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If you want a book that is politically fascinating, that makes you angry and keeps you reading, this is it. The multiple voices used by David Peace make this a mosaic of possible interpretations of the 1984 miner's strike in Great Britain. This strike tore the heart out of the union movement, and pretty much ended coal mining in the UK. It reads like a mystery novel, with level after level of intrigue being exposed. And it keeps you turning the pages.
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This is a bleak novel about Thatcher's Britain and the hopeless miners' strike of 84. It explores the limits of human endurance in the face of indifference from fellow countrymen, police brutality and personal betrayal. Not an easy read but it rings true.
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