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36 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a comfortable nor a cathartic experience - but not meant to be.
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...
Published 11 months ago by Tina Stockman

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really sure what to say....!!
Erm!! Probably the weirdest book I will have ever read in my lifetime. I am nearing the end and cannot really decide whether I am enjoying it or not, although to say you are enjoying it does make you sound a bit perverse considering the content!! I did read the reviews before I brought it but because the reviews were so interesting and varied from absymal to absolutely...
Published on 13 July 2011 by squirt


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a comfortable nor a cathartic experience - but not meant to be., 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Crash (Kindle Edition)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book..., 7 April 2013
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This review is from: Crash (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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant even though lots of people say so, 12 Aug 2008
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 17 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Crash (Kindle Edition)
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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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Postmodern Classic, 21 Feb 2003
This review is from: Crash (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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining ride, 27 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
I'd been wanting to read Ballard for ages but after begining a novel I would find his style over-done, amateurish.
Having persevered with this novel though I can say I am a Ballard convert.
He has a particular perspective, in this novel, of mixing the organic with the technological. Which I suppose he has inherited from his medical background.
The story is entertaining. But I have not given it 5 stars 'cause it is not totally satisfactory. It does become a little repetitive and the ending seems a wee bit anti-climactical....
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A caustic look at a 20th century sexual nightmare, 13 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
Ballard yet again has explored parts of the human psyche that few dare to probe.He matches de Sade and Mirbeau in his illustration of new sexualities and sexual landscapes, caressing the lost edifices of a primitive erotic language, hidden in the modern technology that rules our everyday lives.Crash still remains one of the few novels that dares to explore the modern influence on sexuality, still as shocking and brilliant as it is beautiful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novel that you can't recommend, 25 Jan 2014
This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book and I enjoyed this edition because it has interesting sections at the back detailing how the author feels about the book, its place in literary canon, how it compares with the technology of today and responses to the book when first published. I read all of it but I can see how and why people gave up. It is disturbing in the sense that the narrator talks in a very detached and detailed way about the physical wounds from car crashes and how car crashes are related to sexual feelings. The first couple of chapters made me green around the gills and I had to keep pushing through. And that is the point of it. It's not a quick lunchtime read.

The book doesn't want to shock you for the sake of provocation, however; it wants to shock you awake. I read through the one-star reviews thinking that they would all be people who just didn't want to imagine these images, but I was shocked to read that people thought it was badly written. It isn't. The descriptive language and rhythm make it a work of beauty. Ballard is erudite and has an inarguable talent for prose, even making the vocabulary of car interiors beautiful.

It is a hard book to read, but it's not without merit. And it makes no apologies. The erotic link between the crashes and the sexual relationships in the book didn't quite come across to me. Due to its graphic content, I wouldn't recommend this book, but I'm glad I read it and it is certainly very relevant to today's digital age. This edition also contains a really interesting essay from Ballard on that subject.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really sure what to say....!!, 13 July 2011
This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
Erm!! Probably the weirdest book I will have ever read in my lifetime. I am nearing the end and cannot really decide whether I am enjoying it or not, although to say you are enjoying it does make you sound a bit perverse considering the content!! I did read the reviews before I brought it but because the reviews were so interesting and varied from absymal to absolutely amazing I had to get it to find out for myself. Pretty sick in places and very dark, also (as others have said) fairly repetitive. And yes, the word 'stylized' is way way way over used and its now getting to the point that the word makes me cringe LOL! One of those books that people will have different opinions on depending on how they wish to translate the script. At the end of the day whatever Ballard was trying to achieve with this book to me it is still, at the end of the day, very much just PORN !! Been rushing to finish it so I can start a 'normal' book :-)
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Demented and apocalyptic urban nightmare., 28 July 2010
By 
G. J. Marsh (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
The publisher who famously suggested after reading Crash that Ballard was, to paraphrase, mentally unhinged, was probably not that far wide of the mark. This book was clearly not written by a well man, and Ballard later admitted much the same, this strange novel being part of his therapy to exsorcise the pain of losing his wife so young. An attempt to debase humanity, to relegate nature and raise the machines.

In Crash, cars are organic and humans are mechanic. Sex is routine, loveless. The car crash is lustful, orgasmic. The novel is written in the detached, cold clinical prose that became Ballard's trademark, and the result is like reading the world's most peculiar car owners manual.

But despite (or because)the sheer oddity of this book, Crash is a very hard book to finish, let alone enjoy. The endless amount of extreme sex and violence soon becomes a bore, and the characters are, typically for Ballard, no more than cyphers used to act out his demented nightmare.
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Crash
Crash by J. G. Ballard (Paperback - 19 Jan 1995)
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