Laura Gonzalez

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9 Jul 2015

Nineteen eighty by David Peace*****

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Reading dates: 24 June – 02 July 2015

I read this during the first week of my wonderful fortnight at Yoga Plus in Agios Pavlos (Crete) and the contrast between page and site could not be more marked.

Crime novels don’t get much better than this. Nineteen Eighty, like the other novels in David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, is eerie, well-written and has evocative characters. But what makes this book stand out is the subject matter — the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper — its historical base and, above all, the detail of the police investigation, which I found fascinating. I enjoyed the oddity of this particular plot and how it links to the previous two volumes, while remaining separate, like a well placed parenthetic remark. The overall plot of Red Riding is masterly, delicately threaded and evocatively written. The repetitions in the text are a poetic litany acting like a mantra which gets you, as the reader, into the manic and intense frame of mind of the crime solving. I did not only read; I felt and I feared, I hoped and despaired. As ever with Peace, there is no redemption. Evil characters are truly evil and there is no mercy for the sake of resolution. This is how books should be written. With the heart (that Yorkshire), the skin (which crawls), the head (which knows what reading is) and the gut (which transports you to Christmas 1980, with smells and all). Unlike the previous crime novel I read (The girl on the train), there is plenty of gut here. This is a book for those who love crime fiction, literature, and are not afraid of a rough ride when reading. I recommend it to you, whomever you are. I will be re-reading it again when I get doubts about the genre. In my plan to write a crime fiction novel when I am 50, this is my ultimate model.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Reading


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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.