I have never been much of a sports fan, but since I moved to England I’ve started to understand the appeal of football, at least when things are going well for “our” team at the World Cup! When Asymptote Journal put out a call for reviews of great writing about the sport, I couldn’t resist the chance to contribute a plug for David Peace.
“Born in 1967 in West Yorkshire, England, David Peace is the author of The Damned Utd (2006) and Red or Dead (2013), a pair of strikingly poetic novels about British football in the 1960’s and 70’s. The Damned Utd follows the tale of Brian Clough’s ill-fated time as manager of Leeds United, while Red or Dead details the epic career of Bill Shankly, beloved Liverpool manager from 1959-1974.
Peace’s writing has more in common with the patter of a radio announcer during a match than the usual staid paragraphs of sports biographies. This intense, immersive stream-of-consciousness often verges on poetry, and will satisfy even the most football-phobic connoisseur of experimental prose.
Despite his literary stylings, Peace also has a sport-historian’s obsession with detail. Detailing nearly every goal of every game, these titles convey beautifully the massive cultural importance of football for the English public, especially in the working-class North.”
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