Reviewed by Sara Boorman
Publisher: Faber & Faber June 2021
ISBN: 978-0571232000 HB
I read the first two instalments of this trilogy by David Peace a while ago, both of which I enjoyed
reading immensely and found the subject matter equally interesting. I have also read most of the
author’s other books and in fact rate the Red Riding series and GB84 very highly as exceptional ‘true
crime’ novels. So, I was looking forward to reading Tokyo Redux very much and anticipated
equally enjoying it.
The story is based on true events in late 1940’s Japan. The writing conjures up the sweltering
oppressive heat of a Tokyo summer brilliantly. But this is a post war Tokyo that is partly traditional,
broken, decrepit, damaged and smelly and partly being demolished and reborn with clean bright
new modern buildings and businesses springing up. Attitudes and social norms are also seemingly
morphing from Samurai to salaryman. But in the end we find that underneath the facade of the
shiny new Japan there is still the old feudal Japan except now the Shogun is a CEO.
There are some highly descriptive and disturbing instances of the occupation of Japan and what it
was like to live in and survive the occupied city of Tokyo and the humiliation of occupation for the
citizens. I found these both thought provoking and relevant to some more recent events.
Although I liked the atmosphere portrayed in the book and enjoyed the story very much, I did
find the aggressive repetitive staccato style it is written in both jarring and relentless. The style is
designed I think to reflect the machinery and industry of the new Japan being built but I am afraid I
found it quite wearing and hard to read.