Parul Sehgal of The New York Times Book Review reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in The Book Reader.
This week, in time for the 2014 World Cup, a big, beguiling, eccentric novel about soccer, "Red or Dead," by the English novelist, David Peace.
Our protagonist is Bill Shankly, the real-life coach of the Liverpool Football Club from 1959 to 1974, the team’s glory years. Shankly was infamously conventional, a football-obsessive best known for saying, “Football isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s much more serious than that.” "Red or Dead" was reviewed for the New York Times Book Review by Geoff Nicholson, who said Peace renders Shankly with “a prose style as curious as anything in contemporary fiction: a deadpan blend and pastiche of Zen poetry, Homeric epic and medieval saga, with elements from Samuel Beckett and Gertrude Stein.”
Nicholson says this 700-page deliberately, maddeningly repetitious book can read like a stunt, but Peace is clearly up to something with “the restricted palette, the repeated stock phrases…Sports is always essentially repetitive. The players train endlessly for the big day, and when it comes they constantly use the same skills, make variations of the same plays, over and over until something special happens. At its best, “Red or Dead” is hypnotic, the words casting a spell that verges on the shamanistic.”
Find more reviews of new books in the New York Times Book Review at nytimes.com/books nytimes.com/books.