Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: "Red or Dead" by David Peace

I have to admit, as I was reading through the first few pages of David Peace’s doorstop-sized novel Red or Dead, I was a little bit scared. It sure was different than his Red Riding Quartet, of which I have read the first novel of, and didn’t really like so much. This one is very different, instead of a brutal serial killer; Peace uses all of the 715 pages here to divulge his love of soccer, and more specifically, his love for Coach Bill Shankley of The Liverpool Football Club. What scared me at first wasn’t the subject matter, since I’m indifferent to soccer, but its weirdly direct style of writing that has more in common with the old epics of Homer than your typical sports novel. I was waiting for it to get tiresome, but after awhile, I’m happy to say, it becomes rather hypnotic, and even after that, it becomes a little bit transcendent as it not only offers insights into the man at the center of it all, but really about completion and life itself. Spanning the time Bill becomes head coach in the late fifties to his death in the early eighties; we are privy to almost every minute detail in Bill’s life. From the games he won and lost, to the simple acts of setting up his dinner table for a meal, it is described in direct sentences that somehow get right to the heart of a man who was both larger than life but down to earth, successful, but above all else believed in hard work, patience, honesty and love for his fellow man. It’s quite moving sometimes, like bill’s sadness over the suicide of his friend, to the humorous, such as when Bill must deal with a player with a heinous testicular injury. I’m not sure if everyone will be into this book, and those with low tolerance might dismiss it. But if you come to this with an open mind, you will be pleasantly surprised at the feelings and emotions this book makes you have. 
Rating: 4/5

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