This is the story of an obsession. That of a boy who grew up in Yorkshire terrified by the crimes of a ripper; that of the preadolescent who read all Holmes at nine years old, Le Carré and Chandler shortly after; that of a young man who wanted to understand what was happening, solve every mystery; that of a man, finally, who knew that he would be a writer at all costs. David Peace (Yorkshire, 1967) would like to not be obsessed with time, not be defeated every day by that implacable enemy, not suffer as his characters do. But he can not. "I have changed. At first I wrote to solve the crime. Now I have realized that distance and complexity make it very difficult, if not impossible. Time is the enemy of mystery. Time is an invention of man but we can not break it. Not yet ", tells EL PAÍS in Barcelona, where she has been one of the stars invited to BCNegra.
Peace goes back in his works to try to understand. His four books about the Yorkshire Ripper (published in Spain by Alba), both of the Tokyo trilogy (Random) or GB84 (Tin Sheet) are obsessive exercises of reconstruction of past events that seek to awaken the reader. "I'm not saying there is not a truth. It is just increasingly difficult to know because we are trapped by thousands of subjectivities, "he explains after a long pause.
Your search has imposed a complicated relationship with writing. "Every afternoon I practice writing, by hand. And I read it aloud. I try the same text with the first person, then with the third. I have to see how it works. When I write I need to feel the obsession inside me. Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy, for example, are two of the greats. When I read them I try to see how everything works, to get the text to pass through me, "he says in a shy but confident voice. This can lead to complications like when you realized that Busy City it did not work in the third person and did the last two chapters in the first one and went back from the end to rewrite the other ten. That may also explain why he published his first eight books in 10 years and two more in the next 10. But he does not seem to worry.
Peace's novels are criminal novels, and talk about a robbery with multiple murder in Tokyo after World War II or the mining strike against Margaret Thatcher in 1984. In all there are abuses, there are deaths, there are lies and conspiracies to cover them. "The case of the Yorkshire Ripper was fascinating because the police built their own narrative to deceive themselves and others. Everywhere you look, everything comes and everything takes power. The rapes, the robberies, the murders. Everything has to do with someone who wants to have power over another. And the same happens in politics. "
There is only one way to tell all this: from far away and in first person. That's why Peace went to live in Japan, in search of a sense of community destroyed in his country, victim of a war of the always against those of always. And away, above all distance. "I needed to disconnect. In England I could not write. Time plays against who wants to solve a crime, but it is good to talk about such terrible events as those of GB84, a direct consequence of the re-election of Thatcher in 1983, when a part of the country voted for the prime minister to initiate a war against the other party. My stories have to be told mostly in the first person. Because if I want to be exact, if I'm going to live from within, if I want to take my obsession to my characters, then I have to use the first person, "he says, reflective, worried about being clear.
Far from this obsessive pursuit although related to her in a certain way, Peace has two books about soccer. The first, Maldito United (Contra), wrote it as a liberation. "It's these times that you see the structure. It was all there. I had it in six months, it was written almost alone, "he says with a smile. Fan of soccer but not fanatic, Peace believes that it is precisely that perspective that has allowed him to write about it. Red or death It is a very different book. It is the story of a "red saint", the epic of Bill Shankly, the mannager of Liverpool who led the team to glory with a sense of the collective "very intense" in the words of the author. "I enjoyed it a lot," he says.
GB84 is, in effect, the story of a crime against a people. "It was a war, an occupation, the defeat in the last battle to stop everything that has come after and what the Brexit is only the last chapter", summarizes Peace, who says he participated in the mining demonstrations but did not understand nothing. That's why he wrote this novel to seven voices. "It may seem complex, but they are simplifications of what actually happened. I went to the newspapers every day to try to understand what was happening in each moment. I interviewed many people to build these voices, to try to understand the sacrifices of those people, "he adds.
Peace considers that his first novel, 1974, is poor, that only in the second began to understand what he wanted to do. The plan was to finish the Yorkshire Quartet with the mining strike, but his obsession grew too much and the ripper took up space in his head, grew and grew. There are, he confesses, mountains of notes for a fifth novel about the Yorkshire Rippers, in the plural. "I do not know what will happen to her. He is not dying, he may simply be a baby that I do not want him to grow up, "he reflects. Twenty years after starting a career that pointed to him as the great value of the crime novel, consolidated in that privileged position, Peace assures that he only wants to finish the Tokyo trilogy. "You're as good as your last novel is. I do not want to talk about lost time but when I look back … oh, again the time, the time. "