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High-Rise [Paperback]

J. G. Ballard , Ned Beauman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 April 2014

From the author of ‘Crash’ and ‘Cocaine Nights’ comes an unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control.

Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on ‘enemy’ floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for riots and technological mayhem.

In this visionary tale of urban disillusionment society slips into a violent reverse as the isolated inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, create a dystopian world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

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


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (10 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586044566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586044568
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,881 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

‘Ballard’s finest novel … a triumph’ The Times

‘ingenious … ‘High-Rise’ is an intense and vivid bestiary, which lingers unsettlingly in the mind’ Martin Amis

‘Chilling … Ballard is a prophetic writer’ Sunday Times

‘The writing is cool, the observation exact, the idea bold and well-developed; everything seems to demand attention and analysis’ Financial Times

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

From the Back Cover

''an intense and vivid bestiary, which lingers unsettlingly in the mind.''
martin amis

Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on ‘enemy’ floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for technological mayhem…

In this visionary tale from the author of Crash, Empire of the Sun and Super-Cannes, human society slips into violent reverse as the inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have just finished reading High Rise, JG Ballard's surreal and chilling study of social degeneration within the walls of a 40 storey apartment block populated by an ascendant order of professional classes. The novel makes for compulsive reading as Ballard propels his complicit characters through an apocalyptic gallop towards their primordial origins. The author fills the margins of his fiction with the accumalitive waste of modern existence, and its encroachment is so powerful that the reader can almost smell the rotting garbage and faecal climate of this surrealist tower block. The intoxicating violence and the strange allure of a human community radically re-ordering itself somewhere outside of the technological frontier make this a must for committed Ballard fans and new readers alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brutalist environment? 3 Aug 2012
By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"High Rise" begins with the observations of Robert Laing, a medical man and academic living in a select apartment block, who watches the community around him regress back to a hunter-gatherer culture. His name clearly alludes to the British psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who explored in the 1950s and 60s if mental illness might be traced to family and community dysfunction, not necessarily to physically-based causes. The entire narrative that quickly unfolds in "High Rise" is a fantasy apparently based on certain theories associated with Laing.
Clearly, there are some weighty ideas underpinning Ballard's book.
The novel is about three men who live on three different floors of the tower block - one low, another in the middle, another in the penthouse - each thereby representing a position in the tri-level internal social structure of the inhabitants. Besides Laing on the 25th floor, the story follows the experiences of a muscular former sportsman (now TV producer) from the 3rd floor who works his way up the building, and whse name is "Wilder" (suggestions of a wild man and survivor); and the architect who tries to rule and control the building from his penthouse, and who is named "Royal" (overtones of royalty and kingship).
As well as alluding to Laing's theories, the figure of Royal is a dreamer in along the lines of the influential modern architect Le Corbusier: because Royal likewise sees architecture as a way to regulating people, a physical means for social engineering. His plan is to have his high rise building run as an oligarchy, with the people on the privileged upper five floors in charge. (Shades of Plato's Republic (Penguin Classics) here?) But it doesn't pan out that way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Brutalist environment? 24 July 2012
By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"High Rise" begins with the observations of Robert Laing, a medical man and academic living in a select apartment block, who watches the community around him regress back to a hunter-gatherer culture. His name clearly alludes to the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who wondered in the 1950s and 60s if mental illness might be traced to family and community dysfunction, not necessarily to physically-based causes (see The Divided Self). Indeed, the entire narrative that quickly unfolds in "High Rise" is a fantasy apparently based on certain theories associated with Laing.

Clearly, there are some weighty ideas underpinning Ballard's book.

The novel is about three men who live on three different floors of the tower block - one low, another in the middle, another in the penthouse - each thereby representing a position in the tri-level internal social structure of the inhabitants. Besides Laing on the 25th floor, the story follows the experiences of a muscular former sportsman (now TV producer) from the 3rd floor who works his way up the building named "Wilder" (suggestions of a wild man and survivor), and the architect who tries to rule and control the building from his penthouse named "Royal" (overtones of royalty and kingship).

As well as alluding to Laing's theories, the figure of Royal is a dreamer in along the lines of the influential modern architect Le Corbusier: because Royal likewise sees architecture as a way to regulating people, a physical means for social engineering. His plan is to have his high rise building run as an oligarchy, with the people on the privileged upper five floors in charge.
Read more ›
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Ballard's best novels 4 Aug 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
High Rise (1995) here gets another reissue, just three years after the perfectly fine Flamingo edition- the cover of this one doesn;t appeal very much! High Rise was the third part of what academics and Ballard-buffs like to call 'The Urban Disaster Trilogy'- coming after Crash & Concrete Island.
High Rise has one of the finest opening paragraphs I've read, straight into the dark stuff with 'Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months'! As with many Ballard works- including the locale for the recent Super Cannes- Ballard shows a composite of society, within a society...& beneath that something dark and primal lurking- here there is a literal hegemony from top to bottom in the high rise block which has everything, from a bank to a swimming pool..
Ballard views a society that has closed itself off, and in turn sections of this society that have closed themselves off- one thinks of many things, from the infamous Kitty Genovese case to the LA Riots...This novel reacts to the so-called progression that began to surface in the 1970s- the abortive buildings now being torn down in places like Birmingham- & also taps into the spirit that would birth the yuppies in the 80s and the materialist species that followed in the late 1990s also. As with many Ballard works, there are those atypical Ballardian titles for chapters: The Drained Lake, The Vertical City, The Blood Garden...all roads leading to the sub/unconscious coming to the fore with 1984's autobiographical classic Empire of the Sun.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Gripping and exciting this is a very thought provoking novel. The characters are good and the descriptive nature of ballads work is excellent.
Published 2 days ago by Bunny Mummy
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of book
I had to read this book for my degree course. I found it quite boring as it is just so repetitive but if dystopian novels are your thing you would probably enjoy it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by bbb77
5.0 out of 5 stars A very strange read
Well worth a look at, well written and interesting to think on. One of the best books I've studied for my degree so far.
Published 2 months ago by Rhian Kenny
1.0 out of 5 stars Shows its age
Unattractively printed, bound and written. It's an ultimately hard-to-believe vision of a dystopian future. I like Ballard, but not this.
Published 2 months ago by AlanT
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent warning on the dangers of modern society
Ballard's book is considered something of a classic apparently, although I had never heard of it before reading it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Adam Ridley
5.0 out of 5 stars J G Ballard at his best
This book is absolutely fantastic! Almost a novella, dissecting the hierarchies that human's impose on themselves. Dark, brilliantly written and a real treat!
Published 10 months ago by Gemma E Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome
A modern community descends into animalism. Ballard's fascination with the underbelly of middle class communities continues, with perhaps his most fantastical plunge into... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Alexander McNabb
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book
I would definitely recommend this book: while surreal, it is a disturbing reflection of society, and an exploration of the darker side of human nature.
Published 10 months ago by Lizzy 23
2.0 out of 5 stars Like a 1960's B Movie
Starts off well but then you are led into a void of nothingness
in which the author regurgitates the theme of the high rise mechanical functions over and over and over until... Read more
Published 12 months ago by P.James Flynn
4.0 out of 5 stars Typically excellent dystopian novel by Ballard
The second Ballard novel that I have read (after Kingdom Come), and equally thought provoking.

Marred only by the atrocious proofreading and multiple, unforgivable... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Samuel J Hooper
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