Nineteen Eighty

Nineteen Eighty
David Peace

The third installment of Peace’s Quartet spends a lot of time backtracking, trying to explain exactly what happened in the second part. I appreciated the attempt at clarification, even if the ending was a reversion to form that leaves us hanging from a cliff of ambiguity. Also helpful was bringing in an outsider with less of a tortured psyche to investigate all the “murder and lies, lies and murder.” I was starting to think that everyone in Yorkshire was evil or insane (or both), and finding the place itself a bit claustrophobic (the “small world” syndrome of most paranoid fiction). Stylistically, the tightening circles of repetition reinforce these feelings, alerting us that Peter Hunter is caught in a trap before he himself is aware of the fact.