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GB84 by David Peace
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Jun 04, 10

Read in January, 2010

Like Peace's masterpiece "The Red Riding Quartet", this novel is dark, violent and multi-layered. The prose is rich in descriptive text, at times almost poetic in style, which allows the reader to really immerse themselves within the tale. Peace's gift is to take an event that we all know, and force the reader to become enthralled. You find yourself hoping that the ending will be different, and when it isn't you find yourself disappointed.

The main thread of the story follows 4 major (fictional) characters, each with different allegiances and goals. Each of these have no real redeeming qualities, and as such the reader might find it hard to find anything to sympathise with. However, the sections that detail the day to day lives of two front line striking miners allow us to understand in some way (with gut-wrenching clarity) the trials and pains of those people who picketed for over a year without any pay.

As with the Red Riding books (particularly 1983), at times the convoluted nature of the plot , multiple story threads and leaping back and forth in time can be confusing, and I did find myself lost at time when I had had a break from reading the book for a few days. And I found the ending to be very ambiguous and totally unbelievable

Were the miners right to strike? Was the Tory government heavy-handed and stubborn in their reactions? The book doesn't attempt to answer the political reasons behind the strike with any real convection, but that's not really the point. Peace has constructed an intriguing and complex mystery set around the most defining moment of the 1980's in Britain, and for the most part he pulls it off
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