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Occupied City (Tokyo Trilogy #2)

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  414 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
On January 26, 1948, a man posing as a public health official arrives at a bank in Tokyo. He explains that he’s there to treat everyone who might have been exposed to a recent outbreak of dysentery. 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 d ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published September 1st 2009)
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The White Man and the Pachinko Girl by Vann ChowTokyo Year Zero by David PeaceThe Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo HigashinoOccupied City by David PeaceSalvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
Best Japanese Crime Novels
4th out of 13 books — 10 voters
Nineteen Seventy Four by David PeaceNineteen Eighty by David PeaceNineteen Seventy Seven by David PeaceOccupied City by David PeaceNineteen Eighty Three by David Peace
The Best of David Peace
4th out of 7 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 21, 2010 Frank rated it liked it
The second in a promised trilogy about life and crime in Tokyo during the US occupation. This one is heavily influenced by Kurosawa's "Rashomon" which itself was based on short fiction by Akutagawa. Peace has a unique style which one has to experience to appreciate. I enjoyed this one but not quite as much as his earlier "Year Zero".
Feb 18, 2010 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, fiction
Once you get into the rhythm of the prose, this is a fine novel, certainly better than its predecessor in the triology. That it is based on fact, makes it rather better.
Dec 20, 2014 Flannery rated it it was amazing
when I read Tokyo Year Zero, I was stunned. The book was very special in my eyes, it was different, confusing and impressive. I didnt know David Peace before, though you always stumble upon his red-riding-qurartett-series, when you are looking for something to read in the book stores. I really looked forward to the second part of his Tokyo-trilogy and when I finally finished it last week, I was overwhelmed.

Occupied City tells the story of a real crime in Tokyo in the year 1948, and from this st
Mar 03, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Occupied City is the follow-up to Tokyo Year Zero (one of my fav reads of '08, and a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Awards). It's 1947, and a man walks into a bank, claiming to be an Occupation Authority, saying that dysentery has broken out in the neighborhood and that everyone in the bank needs to drink his medicine to be protected/inoculated. The result is a mass poisoning (linked to previous war crimes) that it is the center of the novel. We experience the murders (pre, during, and afterma ...more
Peace, David. OCCUPIED CITY. (2010). **. This is the kind of book that polarizes readers. They either like it, and praise it to the skies, or they hate it, and condemn it to the shelf of forgotten books. It is said to be a novel. It says so right there on the cover. Maybe it is, but the story – such as it is – is told by a series of narrators with a variety of speech defects and mental aberrations that lead to discontinuities in their thought processes. I’m old fashioned. When I read a novel, I ...more
May 03, 2010 Pauline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time with this book. I felt like I was reading a long poem rather than a prose book and I think that may have been what was challenging for me. It didn't really give me anything to hold on to that I usually need-character or plot. The writing is very rhythmic (lots of repetition), descriptive, visual (use of punctuation, capitals), layered and I think the idea is probably to evoke emotion but it just made it confusing for me. I read this for book group, so I'm hoping the power of th ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Tony rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
David Peace is one of those authors whom I feel I ought to like, but whenever I've picked up one of his books, I just haven't been able to connect with it. I like British crime fiction, but just couldn't get into his Red Riding quartet. I picked this latest book of his (the second in his Tokyo trilogy) up because I find the period of American-occupied Japan pretty interesting, but once again, after 25 pages, I just couldn't take it any more, and I can't see myself picking it back up.

The story is
Aaron Poorman
I did not like this book. Bored / In the occupied city gimmicks in typeface count for voice / Like this one here / IN THE OCCUPIED CITY REDUNDANCY EQUALS EMOTIONAL DEPTH. So we, as readers are left reading the sentence IN THE OCCUPIED CITY 1,000 TIMES. Each chapter introduces a new perspective which does make the reading go by fast, but that's about the only saving grace here ; as each character also brings a new gimmicky writing style. And with it a new thing to be annoyed at. The worst part is ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In reading the NYTimes Book Review I was pretty damn sold on this book. Maybe if I had better realized it was classified as a "mystery" I would have gave it a miss.

But who wouldn't want to read a book about a post WWII Japan man hunt involving poison, a bank heist, secret chemical warfare programs, all told with an intentional nod to Rashomon and noirs? Sounded right up my alley.

Let's just say technique surely overshadows content in Peace's book. It's almost not a novel, the disjointed chapters
Bridget Weller
Mar 21, 2011 Bridget Weller rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2010 Sean rated it it was amazing
A polarizing read. Sometimes banal and repetitive, other times unhinged. It may seem gimmicky, but not if you understand that the narratives are meant to be stylistic representations of madness, ambiguity, frustration, and obsession.

No, the narrative does not operate smoothly. If you are willing to believe that a fractured structure can express something ineffable about the secrecy of power and the hopelessness of those strong-armed by it, then this book will surprise you.

Absolutely worth it: I
Nathanael Booth
Mar 14, 2011 Nathanael Booth rated it really liked it
David Peace follows his spectacular "Tokyo Year Zero" with a book that is, if possible, even more staggering: a twelve-voiced account of a notorious mass murder that took place in Tokyo in 1948. Much has been made of his debt to "Rashomon," and comparisons have also been drawn between this novel and "The Waste Land," but what is most fascinating to me is the way Peace once more draws parallels between the murders that form the basis of the book and the destructive impact of war on those who part ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Godzilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2011
This is a love it or loathe it book, but if you're familiar with David Peace's style, you'll already know what to expect.

Another dark and disturbing tale, this time based on a true crime committed back in the post WWII occupation of Japan.

The story is tackled from all sorts of different angles, some more comprehensively than others, but the different facets offer compelling versions of the same story.

The time frame jumps back and forth, but the main narrative drives forwards relentlessly: and Pe
Ian Young
This is an unusual and challenging book, which has met with very mixed reviews. Peace is without doubt a unique talent, and his writing unlike that of any other novelist working today. The core of this book is a true life crime in post-war Tokyo, where a fake doctor administered cyanide to a group of bank employees and then robbed the bank. However, it is the style with which the story is told which is remarkable. Peace makes extensive use of the repetition which has become one of his trademarks ...more
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it really liked it
There are times THERE ARE TIMES ---there are times--- when the experimental style of The Occupied City IN THE OCCUPIED CITY WHEN I DEBATED CONTINUING WITH THIS BOOK ---I recognised and admired what a work of art this is--- of Peace's writing AND WISHED THE STORY COULD BE MORE SIMPLY TOLD ---but the narrative can be very dense, and it was slow going---. BUT IT'S VERY DEFINITELY WORTH PERSEVERING WITH. ---so I think I might need to re-read this some time.--- Especially the mind-fucking section nea ...more
Dit is een goed boek. Enige bereidwilligheid bij de lezer is echter wel noodzakelijk. Peace maakt een hypnotiserend maar ook verwarrend verhaal in twaalf stukken, de twaalf stadia in een geestoproepende seance, over een misdaad die in het bezette Tokyo na WOII gepleegd wordt. Die context was voor mij al interessant, want nieuw. Ook de medeplichtigheid van zowat alle betrokkenen in het vertroebelen van de waarheid is een fascinerende visie, een zwarte en enge realiteit die ons in de keel gegoten ...more
Patrick McCoy
There’s a fascinating story buried in Dave Peace’s latest novel, Occupied City. It is the story of a mass murder carried out in the guise of treatment for a dysentery outbreak in order to rob a bank in post war Tokyo. It is a true story and suggests that the killer may have been from the infamous unit 731 that was developing weapons for biological warfare. The story is somewhat hard to piece together due to the experimental style Peace used in this novel. This might have something to do with rea ...more
Nick Duretta
Jan 28, 2012 Nick Duretta rated it really liked it
A man in postwar Japan kills an entire bank's staff by poison (and steals all the money). Then, "Rashomon"-style, we hear the story from 12 different perspectives--including the killer's. Peace plays around wildly with style and form in each mini-tale, and some of the writing was a bit too avant-garde and experimental for me, but most of it was fascinating. Subplots and intriguing back stories slowly reveal themselves. This isn't an easy to digest, straightforward crime novel by any means, but i ...more
Marc Nash
Jun 26, 2012 Marc Nash rated it it was amazing
Using the device of the ovie Rashomon, a real life horrific crime in the aftermath of Japan's surrender in 1945 is told from 13 different viewpoints of people caught up or directly involved. From this Peace weaves a masterful tapestry of lies, deceit, cover-up and conspiracy as each of twelve participants offer their groping towards the truth. The thirteenth is a contemporary author, perhaps Peace himself, struggling to separate truth from story-making and confabulation. Each is given the durati ...more
this is a fictional look at a real story-- facts are true, point of view(s) it is being told from is not. I loved the red riding trilogy films and read a review of this book and bought it not knowing it was written by the same author of who wrote the books on which those films are based (have yet to read those books). Admittedly difficult to begin with since it is an odd format, the book is fascinating, some chapters telling the story and feeling more coherent than others
This was a book I found to be hard work but look back on much more fondly than when I was reading it. The styles the chapters are written in are sometimes impenetrable and sometimes tiresome, and possibly most frustratingly once that perspective is gone you don't get to revisit with more information. However, the book offers something more than a historical mystery we hope to get an answer to and the atmosphere it sought to create has grown on me over the months since I read it. There are all ki ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Peace is a novelist who occupies an odd space in British literature -- he’s popular enough to receive mentions in the press, and some of his books (the Red Riding trilogy) have been adapted for TV – yet for all that he occupies a radical and challenging space on the borderlines of genre fiction. Much like China Miéville does with science fiction, Peace’s novels can be appreciated both as edgy crime thrillers and as politically-charged texts which challenge existing novelistic conventions. ...more
Graham Tapper
Jul 06, 2014 Graham Tapper rated it liked it
I had read a lot about this book so expectations were high. But it soon became clear that this was a book lost in its own cleverness ; more style than substance.

Peace admits he has borrowed a Japanese writing style for much of the dialogue. Perhaps that's why it jars so much.

In the end it was very much a ho-hum experience and not one that is likely to bring me to reading more from this author.
Dec 28, 2015 Vasilis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Μου άρεσε πιο πολύ από το πρώτο του βιβλίο. Ήταν ενδιαφέρον ο τρόπος γραφής του βιβλίου και η εξέλιξη της ιστορίας με αυτόν τον τρόπο. Στο τέλος με άφησε με μια γλυκόπικρη (κυρίως πικρή) αίσθηση.
Τι είναι ικανοί να κάνουν οι άνθρωποι και μέχρι που μπορούν να φτάσουν...
Feb 25, 2015 Alan rated it did not like it
On the cover of this book it says "A writer of such immense talent and power" The Times. Well, I guess that I got the wrong book. This book achieved something I am pretty sure no book has ever done before. I stopped reading after the first chapter. What a load of pretentious hogswash.
Continually repeating words, paragraphs, changing fonts etc. Do not interest me. Sorry. I hated this. For those that enjoyed it good for you. I have shelves of books I feel will be more interesting and so I'm done.
Adam Smith
Aug 09, 2015 Adam Smith rated it really liked it
On January 26 1948 at around 3:30pm, a man walked into the Shiinamachi Teikoku bank in Tokyo. Claiming to be a doctor inoculating against dysentery, he proceed to administer a drug to everyone present. Within a handful of minutes more than a dozen people were dead or in serious condition. The man then disappeared with a large sum of the bank's money. A callous robbery that would lead the Japanese police on a chase through the shadowy underside of postwar Japan. A horrifying account of actual eve ...more
Anthony Vacca
Oct 01, 2015 Anthony Vacca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there is a more ambitious crime writer currently producing high quality works of bleak historical noir that crackle with experimental prose, then I want to know his or her name. But for now let it stand that David Peace is the real fucking deal. Occupied City is Peace's ballsiest (ovariesiest) fictional approach yet to putting the psyche of a place and time on the page.

The city is America-occupied Japan, the godforsaken year is 1948 - and on a lazy January afternoon, a man in a medical unifor
Nov 13, 2015 Monica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This must be one of those artistic pieces. Was it an occupied city? Was it a fictional city? WAS it a fictional city? Is this really a novel? How much was based in truth? The repetition in this story was ridiculous. The phrases repeated numerous times in a row;( tap tap ) The stories repeated from different points of view but not that different. It was like a horrible case of deja vu that didn't end. I have to admit that I couldn't even finish listening to it because instead of helping me to sta ...more
Gary Letham
Dec 04, 2015 Gary Letham rated it it was ok
It's not often I can't finish a book, the last time was Patrick O'Briens opening shot of his Master & Commander saga, too many knots, too much naval technical trivia. Unfotunately this was a book I just could not finish, I tried forcing myself, 75% read seems rather late to give up, but to be honest, the prose ended up annoying me to almost the point of physical. I had expected interesting prose after reading Tokyo Year Zero, but this took experimentalism over the edge for my own tastes. The ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Israel rated it did not like it
Segundo libro de la "Trilogía de Tokio", el primero 'Tokyo Año Cero', del mismo autor, es muy bueno y la secuela se me antojó fácilmente, este sin embargo, es un desastre.

"Occupied City" cuenta la historia real de Hirasawa Sadamichi en el caso de los asesinatos por envenenamiento en Tokio de 1948.

La novela es en realidad un largo "poema", la prosa no tiene realmente una estructura interesante. No hay nada de donde aferrarse y es extremadamente repetitivo. La intención parece ser evocar la emotiv
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David Peace - Tokyo Trilogy 1 4 Jun 06, 2014 07:30AM  
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David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. He left Manchester Polytechnic in 1991, and went to Istanbul to teach English. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family.

His formative years were shadowed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper, and this had a profound influence on him which led to a strong interest in crime. His quartet of
More about David Peace...

Other Books in the Series

Tokyo Trilogy (2 books)
  • Tokyo Year Zero (Tokyo Trilogy, #1)

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