Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307276513, 275pp.
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
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 different perspectives including a journalist, a gangster-turned-businessman, an “occult detective,” and a well-known painter. Each voice enlarges and deepens the portrait of a city and a people making their way out of a war-induced hell. Told with David Peace’s brilliantly idiosyncratic and mesmerizing voice, Occupied City is a stunningly audacious work from a singular writer.
“An extraordinary and highly original crime novel . . . A truly remarkable work. It is hugely daring, utterly irresistible, deeply serious and unlike anything I have ever read.” —Justin Cartwright, New York Times Book Review
“Like the novels of Stieg Larsson, Peace’s books are fueled by political passion . . . Genuinely hypnotic . . . It’s no wonder that several critics have compared its mood to Eliot’s The Waste Land.” —Harper’s
“Hypnotic postmodern noir of almost unrivaled fury. . . . Expect to be enthralled and maybe amazed. . . . [Occupied City] takes no prisoners.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A genre-busting mystery and meditation on the ambiguity of elusive reality . . . Peace writes with boatloads of style. . . . This backdrop [of post-war Tokyo] shows how deliberate, bold, and deadly serious Peace is.” —Austin American-Statesman
“Occupied City quickly became my favorite Peace novel . . . This is a true literary thriller, haunting psychological crime fiction exquisitely penned.” —Helen Thorpe, Largehearted Boy (blog)
“A heart-thumping experimental novel which bursts the bounds of the usual genre categories . . . Exhilarating.” —Seeing the World Through Books (blog)
“This is a savagely beautiful, richly startling novel . . . The raw beauty of Peace’s language envelops you . . . Peace writes brilliantly of shattered roads, shattered lives, a fragmenting self, fragmenting society . . . He is an astonishing storyteller.”—The Times (UK)
“Peace’s breathtaking skill renders all [the voices] vividly, forcefully alive . . . His pulp-modernist style feels honed and refined to scalpel-sharp efficiency . . . Peace is like a fearsome tornado turning the world on its head—and we should be grateful for him.” —Financial Times
“A marvellous book . . . You will occasionally feel glad as you read that nobody else writes like Peace, but you will put down the book amazed and delighted that at least one person does.” —Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Peace doesn’t simply examine wartime Japan’s dark heart. He punches through the rib cage to rip it out, vivisect it, and write page after hallucinatory page in its hot, black blood . . . Occupied City is a gripping crime story, too . . . My copy of Occupied City won’t be going anywhere near a second-hand bookshop.” —Independent (UK)
“Tokyo Year Zero was a gripping performance [but] Occupied City [is] a tighter read, with greater momentum, than its predecessor . . . The novels Peace produces are uncommonly serious about the nature of the tissues that bind together history, rumour, politics, psychology, community and fiction. At their best, they develop a kind of literary forensics, exhuming histories of violence to probe the necrotised organs of the societies in which that violence erupts . . . Peace wields the scalpel like no one else.” —Observer (UK)