Finally, sports fiction has its own Ulysses, its own Moby-Dick—thankfully, the genre still awaits its Finnegan’s Wake. David Peace, who gave us the remarkable The Damned Utd, has again drawn on his obsession with soccer managers to create a stupendous, jaw-dropping novel about Bill Shankly, the obsessive soccer manager who ushered in the modern era at Liverpool. I’m not a Liverpool fan, but I am a fan of great literature and Red or Dead qualifies. It takes awhile to work its magic, but . . . well, read my Booklist review and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s not for everybody, but great art seldom is.
A 700-page, experimental novel about the coach of an English soccer team? A limited audience pretty much guarantees this won’t be a best-seller, which is a bloody shame—it’s a magnificent literary achievement.
(Click the link above to read the whole thing.)