The Day of Creation (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Paperback – 25 Sep 2014
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‘Classic Ballard. Mesmerising. No one writes with such haunting impact’ William Boyd
‘A unique writer with a distinctive vision unmatched by any other living novelist. In The Day of Creation Ballard is at the height of his powers … triumphant’ New Statesman
‘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’ Guardian
‘Absolutely vintage Ballard … Compulsively absorbing: the white heat of its images seems to burn off the page, and the surreal landscapes linger on in the mind’ Independent
‘It could only have been imagined by a master of visionary realism … a country of the mind as vivid and viable as anything this extraordinary writer has ever produced’ Spectator
‘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
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."
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
"Ballard's prose sizzles off the page."
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Top customer reviews
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?
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
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
'Dr. Mallory' arrives in a poverty-ridden African country to run a WHO clinic. Messing about, Mallory improbably exposes a natural spring in the arid landscape, which rapidly becomes a substantial river.
Mallory names the river after himself and sets sail along it in a derelict ferry, the Salammbo, to discover its source, along with characters such as a former guerrilla, a 12-year-old girl he names Noon. Strangely some of the characters resemble real people I have met, myself, in parts of Africa.
One of the most interesting characters is the half-blind Mr Pal, who entertains us with an occasional monologue of the passing scenery:
" . . . wild magnolias and many small tamarinds, with comfortable footing for passerine birds . . . the river is some eight metres in depth, moving through an ample basin of washed granitic marl, well stocked with aquatic life. The warm waters offer friendly refuge to snakes and lizards . . . "
"Mr. Pal . . . " I cut the throttle in protest. "For God's sake - you sound as if you're stocktaking on the last day of creation . . . "
"Well put doctor, that describes it exactly . . . "
Mallory finds that the 'benefits' of the river are becoming cancelled by its dangers, and decides he must destroy it, but he disintegrates into delirium as he tries to reach the source, harrassed by the guerillas, the local 'peace forces' - arguably more 'evil' than the guerillas - and nature itself.
Ballard has long impressed me with his incredibly vivid ability in imagery, evident as long ago as his early work "The Drowned World" (now prophetically coming true as the ice caps melt); but in this book, The Day of Creation, Ballard revels in imagery at the cost of making the story realistic. There were too many spots where this reader simply felt 'thrown out' of the narrative, caused by a failure to suspend disbelief in this outrageous tale, due to the extreme improbability of certain of the events.
"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.