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Cocaine Nights [Paperback]

J. G. Ballard , James Lever
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 July 2014

‘Snort up “Cocaine Nights”. It’s disorientating, deranging and knocks the work of other avant-garde writers into a hatted cock’ Will Self

Five people die in an unexplained house fire in the Spanish resort of Estrella de Mar, an exclusive enclave for the rich, retired British, centred on the thriving Club Nautico. The club manager, Frank Prentice, pleads guilty to charges of murder – yet not even the police believe him. When his Charles arrives to unravel the truth, he gradually discovers that behind the resort’s civilized façade flourishes a secret world of crime, drugs and illicit sex.

At once an engrossing mystery and a novel of ideas, ‘Cocaine Nights’ is a stunningly original work, a vision of a society coming to terms with a life of almost unlimited leisure.

This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard’s works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Neil Gaiman, Zadie Smith, John Lanchester and Martin Amis) and brand-new cover designs.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006550649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006550648
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, The Drowned World, in 1961. His 1984 bestseller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His memoir Miracles of Life was published in 2008. J.G. Ballard died in 2009.

Product Description


‘Utterly compulsive’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Snort up “Cocaine Nights”. It’s disorientating, deranging and knocks the work of other avant-garde writers into a hatted cock’ Will Self

‘The possessor of a terrifying and exhilarating imagination – and a national treasure’ Guardian

‘Guaranteed to keep you reading into the early hours’ Sunday Times

‘Thrillingly wired … dazzlingly original’ Independent

‘The terrifying thing about Ballard is his logic; is this science fiction or history written ahead of its time?’ Len Deighton

About the Author

J. G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai. After internment in a civilian prison camp, his family returned to England in 1946. His 1984 bestseller ‘Empire of the Sun’ won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His controversial novel ‘Crash’ was made into a film by David Cronenberg. His autobiography ‘Miracles of Life’ was published in 2008, and a collection of interviews with the author, ‘Extreme Metaphors’, was published in 2012. J. G. Ballard passed away in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Late Ballard, a bit tired 29 May 2008
By Greshon
This was another book I read upon finishing my English Literature degree, eight years ago, for light relief. The fact that it was modern and that it was set in sunny Spain appealed to me, but the book didn't live up to my expectations. I'd found Empire of the Sun stuffy when I had read it at school, but I had liked Crash very much, thinking it in fact a masterpiece (a pleasant surprise after that dreadful film). But Cocaine Nights seemed a bit tired, without flashes of Ballard brilliance. Solid stuff, all the same, but unless you are an avid Ballard fan, there is better stuff out there worth spending your time on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime as Moral Redemption 16 Jun 2011
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Briliant satire on lower middle class aspirations brimming with the desire to remain immobile and passive acting out a living boredom. This book provides valuable insights into the imaginary dream of going abroad to live out the lie. Ex Pats trapped in sepia memories of "Great" Britain; faded and tinged, popping up on yahoo websites to bark out their acidic recollections.

A connection between those who stayed and those who returned are the encoded memories. Relating to the time they left, nostalgic Britain; class divided, 60's/70's/80's football/TV shows, music (Glam, Mod, RNB, Soul) and all those carefully prepared memories of how it was round 68 Butterworth St. or Corporation Avenue; back in the day.

Returning, now all gone, bulldozed and transformed.

Lying in the sunshine soaked and baked in relative wealth the escapees feel the oil soak in as they lie on top of a shag pile. Instead, whilst living in glamorous surroundings; pueblo stucco, swimming pool, barbercue, sunshine, beach; an echo of various style over substance boredom drops in for a coffee, resonating with an inner doused ennui. Modern facades based on crowing outwardly to neigbours, portraying german success, whilst secretly craving life back in the council house.

Within the novel they drink themselves silly, intrigue, and then swap their partners. Bored with this lifestyle, go to the sands and keep on digging, looking for something that isn't there, a mirage inside the head. Theres only so much sun you can take.

This novel is full frontal nude expose of someone, who roles a conductor of communal violence to form social glue.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Never really got going 18 Aug 2014
By magnet
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Disappointing book easy enough to read and passed some time but just seemed lacking
If the reader didn't buy into the premise of the books message then seemed quite a futile attempt at creating a plot to give a platform for the authors central idea of monotony and boredom of the stupor of the wealthy retired or expat lifestyle enlivened by a created criminality.
Kept waiting for it to bite but never did and seemed more of a schoolboys competent attempt at a novel then a so called literal success
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mind bending shocking, masterpiece. 12 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I spent the first 90% of the book wondering where it was going, and even then I got it wrong. The most shocking, satisfying ending I have ever read. The last paragraph puts the whole book into perspective, and what an amazing perspective it is. This is ingenious. I'm currently reading JG's latest, Super Cannes, I hope it turns out as good as this one did
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Embarrasing 21 Mar 2013
Oh dear, the superlative reviews featured on the back cover bear no resemblance to the same gook I read, faintly embarrasing in its old school, swallows and amazon style boys adventure, incomprehensible characters and motivations (admitting to crimes not committed for the good of the community, causing violence and death to encourage the town to join your sports club etc) ... worse of all, the central premise gets derailed for 80 percent of the book as our hero decided he is not a sleuth but manager of a new leisure complex ... this so called 'future' vision of an ex-pat enclave in Spain, feels more like something from the fifties, and one does feel that Ballard should have got out of Shepperton a little more in his final years ... Super Cannes, his follow up was a near identical premise, and nearly (but not quite) as bad !
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK Crime Novel 5 Dec 2013
By Rachel
Very much a crime thriller, it wasn't really what I expected. Although cocaine was mentioned as a past time I expected a book at lot more about parties and the drug culture, rather than a crime novel, trying to prove the innocence of one of the characters after a house fire. It is set in the ex-pat community of the Costa Del Sol during the 1990's and does give an idea of the hedonistic lifestyle and has a darker undertone that you do not really begin to see or understand until 2/3s of the way through the novel. It took a very long while to get going and only really reaches a basic conclusion with many aspects left either unanswered or open to interpretation. None of the characters are likeable, including the main character who is easily led, and led to believe many untruths, but this seems to be the part of being swept up in the lifestyle of doing little during the day except play tennis or golf, with many people turning to drugs to cope with the boredom of everyday life. Long winded with little excitement, with the occasional twist in the storyline.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
My first Ballard book and I will definitely read more....engaging from the start...a book you simply can't put down. Gripping
Published 29 days ago by Lisa Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I've been going to Marbella for 27 years since my Mum and Dad first bought a place. I seen a lot and although nothing like this it has a realism about it
Published 4 months ago by M BERRY
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost reaches heights of Concrete Island and other Ballard classics
Extravagant (sometimes surrealistic) prose occasionally impedes plot development in this excellent detective thriller.
A real pity Mr Ballard is dead.
Published 11 months ago by Mac fanatic Alan
4.0 out of 5 stars great story
a murder mystery set in a place like the Costa del Sol. Well-written and fast-paced, plenty of description. enjoyed it a lot and its easy-reading.
Published 13 months ago by Beano
1.0 out of 5 stars Dated and predictable, laugh-out-loud bad in places
One of the worst books I've read in a long time. The characters are thinly drawn, the plot predictable and unbelievable, and the style so dated that if it weren't for the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. Dennett
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, but unsettling
There are certain novels that are rated so highly that eventually the average bookworm feels obliged to read them. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Carol A.
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was like a...
Was really disappointed in this book. I never feel like writing reviews. But when I saw all the 5 star reviews on here I felt compelled. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by Bruno Hat
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by the title!
I was very much looking forward to reading this book, the title seemed to promise excitment but it failed miserably for me. Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by Donna Gough
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
My first JG Ballard book and having read gushing praise for him over the years had high expectations, something which Cocaine Nights totally fails to deliver on. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by Kuma
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