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Crash Paperback – 3 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000728702X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007287024
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,944 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

Review

'A work of very powerful originality. Ballard is amongst our finest writers of fiction' Anthony Burgess

'One of the few genuine surrealists this country has produced, the possessor of a terrifying and exhilarating imagination' Guardian

'Ballard has issued a series of bulletins on the modern world of almost unerring prescience. Other writers describe; Ballard anticipates' Will Self

From the Publisher

Like many of Ballard's other novels, the seeds for Crash were sown in a short story or, in effect, the series of stories that were eventually published as The Atrocity Exhibition (or Love and Napalm: Export USA). Described by Will Self as representing `the zenith of the experimental novel in English' and `a profound and disquieting book' by William Burroughs, The Atrocity Exhibition is composed of seemingly disconnected, almost shard-like tales, some made up of short listed paragraphs. Full of extreme imagery and, as its author admits, `rather obsessive sexual fantasies about the prominent figures of the day', it strove, in its fragmentary structure, to emulate the confused (and confusing) messages of news broadcasts, advertising billboards, television commercials and technical manuals. In an author's note readers were advised to `simply turn the pages until a paragraph catches your eye'.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tina Stockman on 24 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had avoided reading this book as I must have had some lingering memory of the surrounding controversy. It was definitely not a comfortable or cathartic experience but then it was not meant to be. ‘Clinical’ was one word used positively and negatively by critics of Crash and with a little background reading I discovered how appropriate it was. J.G Ballard spent a portion of his childhood in a Japanese prisoner of war camp (chronicled in the novel and film, Empire of the Sun) and later trained as a doctor. In the light of this, perhaps his detached, unfaltering attitude to bodily functions, disease, damage, obsession and general human mess is understandable. I found it an adult book addressing difficult social issues. The essential idea seemed to be that we live in a society that morbidly adores the car and is undeterred or even excited by the destruction it causes both to the human body and the environment. Ballard offers an unsettling and alienating interpretation of this adoration as a physical longing to join flesh with metal, forcing the audience to confront what this perverse and ultimately fatal attraction might look like and to consider its consequences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Craven on 7 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This book divides opinion, and understandably, but if you like to read to be challenged and pulled outside your comfort zone, then this is one for you. You'll feel squeamish, you'll feel uncomfortable, but by the end you'l realised you've been on a journey few other authors would dare to take their readers on. The only writer doing something similar at the moment would appear to be Morton Bain (Psychopath!).
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ms. L. Thacker on 21 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
To say that J.G Ballard's classic postmodern novel is merely out for the 'shock value' it can extract from its reader is completely missing the point.
This isn't an erotic novel, the sexual content is handled in such a way to make it clinical, almost replulsive to the reader (sexual organs are described with as much enthusiasm as a steering wheel column). Sex becomes just another mechanical act, like driving a car, the repetition only serves to highlight that fact. The endless cycle and the numbing realisation that as a postmodern audience we become deadened to the horrors that surround us that are brought into our homes by the media is also central to understanding this text.
Ballard's novel brings to light the desensitised nature of human beings who watch mass murders on the nightly news with as much affect as the advertisement for soap powder which follows.
Ballard's novel is an implossion of fantasy and reality. Bringing together the society that thrives on spectacle to the point that watching a car crash has become prime time viewing. The death of affect - the fulfilment of human passions onto material technologies rather than people, resulting in a displacement of passion and an inability to connect is also central to this text.
After this read The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The Pamphleteer on 12 Aug. 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Relentlessly aggressive and pornographic in a psycho-geographical kind of way. Brilliant even though lots of people say so. Deeply unsettling and explicit even though countless commentators have initiated it into the bland halls of literary classic. Not misogynistic even though it is, in a way, all about misogynism and inadequate manhood. Its vivid portraits (after Francis Bacon?) of genitalia and instrument panels, blood and torn flesh and semen and scars, all of that, is brought forth by a detached and clinical eye. Which is (a good bit of) the point. I found it both more engrossing and repetitive than I expected. And occassionally moving. The refluxes of libidinal modern landscapes mirror the obsessions of Ballard and Vaughan, rendered universal by their compulsions to repeat (even if some of the rest of us aren't particularly keen on sex and death in the twisted wrecks of four-lane motorways and airport bypasses). As Ani Difranco says: "my c*nt is a wound that won't heal" - that's what Crash is like. Despite (or because of) this unforgiving repetition, it seems to have more essence of Ballard than anything else that I've read of his. Yes, its original. Yes, its revolting. Yes, it offends the right kind of people. But this is a deeply affecting and memoral book for more reasons than that.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RH on 17 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of Ballards most disturbing (and sensationalised) books, I bought this to replace a copy I loaned out
years ago and never got back. Re-reading it, (sometimes a mistake), it still has the power to make one squirm
and the promise to make one keep turning the page, sometimes against one's better judgement.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Rodden on 1 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
Crash still stands today as one of the late J.G. Ballard's most popular and controversial novels.

By utilising the metaphor of the car crash, Ballard propels the reader into the dark world of the communications landscape and celebrity obsession with horrific and visceral images which, during the course of novel the reader becomes as desensitised and hollow as the characters at play within it.

Highly sexualised and grotesque, Ballard's novel probes into the very essence of a society that has become bored with their ordinary lives. Affairs to fill thee void of impotence, the spark and release of fresh sensation during a head on collision with another motor car, and the voyeuristic 'spectators' that gather around the crash site. Each of them changed as it is removed from the comfort of their living rooms.

I can not recommend this book highly enough. True masterpiece of the near-future science fiction. A mere few moments into the future. Truly terrifying and unrelentingly compelling.

Crash
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