The fourth and Final Instalment in the Red Riding Quartet. With Nineteen Eighty Three, David Peace completes the Red Riding Quartet, an astonishing, sustained epic. Three intertwining storylines see the Quartet’s central themes of corruption and the perversion of justice come to a head.
BJ, the rent boy from 1974; the lawyer Big John Piggott, who’s as near as you get to a hero in Peace’s world; and Maurice Jobson, the senior cop whose career of corruption and brutality has set all this in motion, find themselves on a collision course that can only end in a terrible vengeance.
David Peace (born 1967) is an English author. He was named one of the Best of Young British Novelists by Granta in 2003 and won the 2004 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He is also known for his novels GB84 and The Damned United, with the latter made into a feature film starring Michael Sheen.
I got through all four of books within 2 weeks. (Which is saying a lot for a working mother!) After having the first 3 under my belt I could not wait to see how everything wove together. I loved how David Peace went back and forth between the time periods (especially back to "1974") and I was able to piece more layers into those previous stories and characters. You really realize at the end just how many different characters and years this story spanned, which was really unique to my literary experience. It is not a pretty story, but the characters will stay with me for a long time and I am sure I will revisit Yorkshire in the years from 1974-1983 in my mind many times from now on.
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What did you like most about Nineteen Eighty Three: Red Riding Quartet?
The final episode of David Peace's Red Riding Quartet was not disappointing. The pace of the evolving and, at the same time, untangling of the various plot lines from the previous three books kept me enthralled. In fact I was surprised that so many elements of the plot were resolved. I think I expected the horror and corruption to continue unchecked. Of course we do not find out if there is ever any justice or retribution for all of the damaged lives, death and miscarriages of justice. Will the owl restore justice to West Yorkshire? I doubt it.
What does Saul Reichlin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I found these books by following the marvellous Saul Reichlin through Audible. After hearing home narrate 'The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo' I thought I'd try another book narrated by him. I think that David Peace's poetic language and use of repetition make for fantastic audio books.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I've spent over 50 hours on my daily walk to and from Leeds station stepping back in time to the Leeds of my teenage years, listening along-side revelations in the news about Jimmy Saville, his social involvement with West Yorkshire police and charitable works to further his evil motives. Over the same period Margaret Thatcher has died and that horrendous clip of her reciting the prayer of St Francis of Assissi, which I remember being horrified by in 1979, and heard chillingly used in this final volume, has been repeated on the TV and radio. Meanwhile there are continuing investigations of police corruption after Hillsborough. David Peace's chilling novels are amazingly prescient.
Any additional comments?
Now that I have 'read' the books I'm planning to watch the award winning TV films based on the first, third and final book. I'm particularly keen to see how BJ is portrayed.
Well the series started off badly, went downhill slightly in the middle and finished in a messy heap on the floor. With wings obviously.
Extremely difficult to make sense of, disjointed and generally quite annoying. And if the author hadn't repeated everything over and over and over again he could've fitted the whole story (story?) into one book and saved me a lot of time.
However, excellent narration by Saul Reichlin. Doesn't help much though.