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The day of creation Hardcover – 1987

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Lester & Orpen Dennys; 1st edition edition (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886191815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886191818
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,216,676 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


‘Absolutely vintage Ballard…impressive stuff…never anything but compulsively absorbing: the white heat of its images seems to burn off the page, and the surreal landscapes linger on in the mind.’ Independent

‘An exciting plot, unfolded with a master’s cunning…Ballard has written an adventure story that constantly surprises and excites.’ Guardian

‘A metaphysical adventure story dealing with complex themes – the life-giving power of water, the cold eye of television, obsession and love – all set in a dream Africa, as if hallucinated by Joseph Conrad.’ Angela Carter

‘A blend of animated reverie, myth and adventure story, “The Day of Creation” imprints itself on the mind by its acid sweetness.’ Times Literary Supplement

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

In parched Port-la-Nouvelle in central Africa, Dr Mallory watches his clinic fail and dreams of discovering a third Nile to make the Sahara bloom. During his search for water, an ancient tree stump is uprooted by a bulldozer and water wells up, spreading until it becomes an enormous river. With the once arid land now abounding in birds and beasts, the obsessed Mallory forges up-river in an old car ferry, clashing with hostile factions as he tries to find the source of his own creation… An unforgettable voyage of the imagination from the best-selling author of 'Empire of the Sun', 'Crash', and 'Super-Cannes'.

"This is classic Ballard. Mesmerising. No one writes with such haunting impact."

"An exciting plot unfolded with a master's cunning. Ballard has brought off something rare in this fine book. He has written an adventure story that constantly surprises and excites."

"A unique writer with a distinctive vision unmatched by any other living novelist, and in 'The Day of Creation' Ballard is at the height of his powers… triumphant."

"A blend of animated reverie, myth and adventure story, 'The Day of Creation' imprints itself on the mind with acid sweetness."

"Ballard's prose sizzles off the page."

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G Talboys on 10 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Of all Ballards mid-period books, I find this one to be his most haunting. Appearing between Empire and Kindness, it steps away from the intimacies of Ballard's own life and explores the deep places within us all. The journey along the river is a perfectly conceived metaphor for the journey into our own interiors. Although Ballard has done this before in his earlier books, he brings a new maturity and a new control to this work. His writing has improved considerably by this stage and the strength of the basic structure allows Ballard to explore inner space as never before. It is not a particularly pleasant place, but he understands how we work and how the modern world is an evocation of those deep, dark layers within us.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Tomlinson on 27 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
I couldn't disagree more with the previous reviewer. While I've always favored Ballard's early classics, this mid-period novel is also a classic.

As Dr. Mallory wanders through this 'fever dream' landscape of modern Africa, much like the river than bears his name, you get glimpses of Ballard's brave new world. The one in which we live today: a wasteland, one littered with "beer bottles, cigarette packs and French pornographic magazines" , old air conditioners, water coolers, tires and fuel drums, in short "a terminal moraine of modern technology".

Ballard is a social theorist, as well as the best writer of English fiction of the 20th Century. Certainly that informs his writing.

All in all, this is one of Ballard's best novels of the 80's. I've owned them all, and have read some of them a dozen times. I recommend this book to all who love his prose, his vision, and his view of the world.

You decide, do you believe me or the previous reviewer?
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By pingpong on 29 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
I agree with the 'non-sensical' review.
Ballard has imagination but I got really tired of this novel. The characters lack any depth, you do not become engaged. This is a characteristic of Ballards work actually
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jun 2002
Format: Paperback
a "metaphysical" novel apparently. i recently read paul auster's new york trilogy which seems to try to work on a similar level, but where auster succeeds in creating a wonderfully eerie confusion of events which cannot be questioned, ballard fails. it tries to be clever, but you find yourself being able to pick apart why it really doesnt make sense.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful imagery 22 Sep 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
What I liked best about this novel was the images that Ballard was able to evoke. To be honest, I started reading it and lost interest. I picked it up some years later and was hooked. He truly can create amazing pictures in the mind unlike most writers. It is perplexing to me to see a book like The Firm getting such good reviews and being read by millions when this one is hardly even a footnote, when this book is superior in just about every way. It is not his best. I would say Crystal World, High-Rise and The Drowned World are his best, but this is a very original novel.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A delirious psychological odyssey... 6 Dec 2002
By Mac Tonnies - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ballard's 1987 novel "The Day of Creation" is a sinuous odyssey through a surrealized Africa drunk on the potential of Western technology. Ballard's narrative voice is rich and engaging, the fluctuating exterior and interior landscape rendered with delirious conviction. "The Day of Creation" reads like a particularly brutal 20th century fable, deftly pointing the cool lens of technology on our secret fascination with the Dark Continent.
"The Day of Creation" has been compared to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." But Ballard's novel is at once deeper and more topical; by infusing his story with a compelling and unlikely romance, Ballard reveals a sensual versatility lesser writers would gladly kill for. Read as an adventure story or as erotic allegory, "The Day of Creation" is a pleasure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An interesting idea that falls flat. 19 Mar 2006
By Betty Ragan - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that clearly isn't meant to be taken entirely literally, the kind where all the events have some kind of metaphorical significance and the exterior landscape is an obvious externalization of an interior one. When done well, this can result in extraordinarily rich and rewarding fiction, the sort of story that does profound things to deep parts of your brain and can provide new insights and emotional resonances every time you return to it. Sadly, when it's done, er, less well, what you end up with is a story that fails to work on two levels instead of just one. And while it does have a few points of interest -- enough that I almost talked myself into giving it three stars instead of two -- this novel unfortunately is one of the latter kind. The metaphors and the imagery they're captured in never seem quite rich enough or subtle enough to be really engaging, either emotionally or intellectually, and the plot in and of itself is neither particularly interesting nor especially plausible. It's been quite a while since I've read any of Ballard's other work, but from what I remember he's not exactly untalented at this sort of thing. Even talented writers occasionally fall flat, however. I wanted to like and appreciate this story, I really did. But, in the end, I was counting down the pages until I was finished and could go and read something else instead. I suspect I only finished it because I'm stubborn. My advice: If you've never read anything by Ballard, start somewhere else. And if you like some of his stuff but don't feel a burning desire to read every word he's ever read, you might as well skip this one.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not Free SF Reader 3 Sep 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on
Format: Paperback
A doctor, sick of the corporate shill he is becoming goes to work in Central Africa. He gets obsessed with finding water, as well as being in the middle of a small military conflict.

When lots of water does happen to come around he starts to get loopier and loopier, hunting for its source, with a young girl he has a demented Lolita thing for, while he does his little Heart of Darkness adventure on a boat.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Conrad-ish ride high on character, short on substance 9 Jun 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After the successful "Empire of the Sun" Ballard obviously wanted to continue in the adventure world. Indeed, this was obviously written for his newfound audience as one finds no traces of the sexual/violent extremes some of his earlier work embraces. What he does embrace is the character of one Dr. Mallory, and the river he inadvertenly "invents." Mallory is a mercurial ride in narrator fashion, though you never get much further than his obsession with the river. This, in fact, is the problem with the entirety of the book. Everyone, including the river itself, is given a complex single-faceted personality (make sense?) and what this inevitably leaves the reader with is a spark of intrigue, but never a feeling of real involvement. That greatly hurts an adventure work, such as this one, where Ballard doesn't have his tremendous imagination to fall back on. Overall, a pretty good time, but definitely not one of his best
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