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The Drought Paperback – 17 Apr 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New edition edition (17 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007115180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007115181
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 859,218 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

‘The experience Mr Ballard offers is mystical…It is weird; it is grotesque; it is magnificently Gothic.’ Sunday Times

‘By arranging a world drought to kill off the majority of people, he brings his characters to a state of timeless, arid obsession with what is left of water and of their own selves…a sensitive, baroque study in decadence.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Ballard paints staggering imaginary landscapes. A very impressive book by a deeply serious writer, the originality and power of whose vision can be felt.’ TLS

From the Back Cover

"All we know for certain is that the novels of Ballard will not be written, could not be guessed at by anyone else."
MARTIN AMIS

'Ransom climbed up on the jetty and gazed down at the houseboat, stranded with all his hopes on the bleached shore. He brushed the dust off his sleeves and trousers, looking out at the mud flats rising from the centre of the lake. At his feet the swollen body of the dog was blurred by the heat, and for a moment the whole landscape seemed to be covered with corpses. The dead fish rotated slowly from their hooks in the drying sheds, and a spasm of dizziness made Ransom retch emptily…'

"One of the few genuine surrealists this country has produced, the possessor of a terrifying and exhilarating imagination."
GUARDIAN


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jane Aland VINE VOICE on 27 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
JG Ballard's 2nd novel (or 3rd if you count the disowned and out of print `The Wind Out of Time') works as a mirror-image to that of `The Drowned World', with Ballard again exploring the psychological effects of a dystopian future environment, only this time with a severe lack of water rather than a submerged planet. Again, as with `The Drowned World' this is a novel which is fairly light in terms of conventional plot or narrative drive and so can appear rather languid at times, but it is rich with symbolism and startling imagery that will stay with the reader for long afterwards. Not Ballard's best perhaps, but a memorable read nonetheless.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Ault VINE VOICE on 16 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a compelling and all-too-real piece of science fiction. Ballard focuses on only a few characters, and sketches the wider events. This makes the portrait of the collapse of society all the more troubling.
The descent from civilisation to primitive tribal life on the edge is convincing. A perpetual drought forces people to the edge of the sea, where the competition for water and food is intense. Only a few survive. As ever, Ballard is working at two levels, and this is also the descent into the characters losing their very identities. Most of the survivors live in subjugation. While in "The Drowned World" the characters find their primeval selves, here they risk losing all identity.
The end is not the strongest part of the book, but perhaps the problem with Ballard's method is having no where further to go when everything has changed.
Well worth the journey.
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By Mark on 18 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Kindle edition rather than of the novel: one hardly needs an Amazon review to know that Ballard is one of the great writers of the 20th century. He has, however, been appallingly served by this edition of the novel, which regularly (several times per page, often several times per sentence) omits commas and full stops, and inserts random capitalisation. Unless the publishers ever devote a minimum of care to this title, buy it on paper!
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By John Hopper TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
I was a bit disappointed by this one, which I didn't think was as good as High-Rise. While some of the description of the catastrophe was haunting, there are only so many dusty landscapes, dry riverbeds, and remains of boats that one can read about before it gets very samey. And the characters didn't appeal to me at all.
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Format: Audio Download
Couldn't get into this at all, much as I wanted to. I got about halfway through listening to this as a audiobook, but Jonathan Coote's flat and sometimes staccato narration didn't help. I was intrigued by the premise of the book, but was very underwhelmed
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven Moses on 4 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge Ballard fan and some of my other reviews of his books lie in other dark corners of the Amazon site but this a very disappointing early effort from arguably our greatest living English writer. It's usual Ballard fayre-the alien planet is Earth, hugely flawed characters, anti-heroes, magnificent imagery. But this book feels too disjointed even for Ballard and there is no continuity between the chapters. I am currently reading 'Terminal Beach' which is a collection of his brilliant short stories and maybe 'Drought' should have stayed that way (ditto 'Crystal World' another relative Ballard stinker). If you want an introduction to the great man's works read 'Cocaine Nights' or 'Empire of the Sun' or especially 'Crash'. This one is definitely for fans only and I thought I was a fan! It was painful to read and even more painful to give up half way through. Avoid.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book still haunts my mind nearly fifteen years after I first read it. It is, quite simply, brilliant. To call Ballard a science fiction writer is misleading, because what he writes is not reliant on technology or futuristic scenarios; he takes our own lives, suburban and mundane, products of school and advertising, and places them in a world for which they have not been trained. Here, environmental pollution has formed a scum on the surface of the sea, restricting rainfall and causing a draught and the breakdown of society. Ballard explores people's reactions to this catastrophic event, and how society reassembles itself, with new pecking orders and struggles. To my mind, it's one of his best novels and one of my all-time favourite books, with truly memorable images and scenes, almost crying out to be filmed. Read this for a start on his novels, and then get stuck into his short stories, perfectly crafted gems every one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I originally read this in 1981, my paperback copy has a handwritten date on the inside flap. I wrote a dissertation on Ballard for sixth year English. At the time I liked it, in contrast I though The Crystal World was tedious. Reading this again, I found it quite heavy going. It portrays the end of the world as a variation on the Bowie video Ashes to Ashes, with various eccentric characters. It is written in the typical Ballard style, with ‘deliquescent’ being his favourite word. I think Ballard was struggling to find a long fiction form that suited him, this is one of a suite of disaster novels, the others being The Wind from Nowhere, The Drowned World, and The Crystal World. It feels like a short story expanded and expanded, without ever quite making a satisfying novel.

It is brim full of a dark gloomy imagination, less successful are the endless references to The Tempest and greek myth. I felt that it did pick up by the end, but for those new to Ballard there are better places to start.

Finally this is one of the worst produced books that I have seen on Kindle. There are numerous typos, the word ‘Don’t’ is capitalised every time it appears, there is missing punctuation. There is a short introduction by John Harrison, and short essays by Will Self and Ballard himself to close.
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