- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 15 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 18 July 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LV1GJBG
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Concrete Island Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
If you think about it, the notion of a man who gets stuck on a traffic island, a patch of wasteland at the intersection of the new motorway network, is something which could also have been done by the contemporaneous `Monty Python's Flying Circus'. (Imagine Michael Palin's 'It's' man staring forlornly at the traffic). But Ballard - from that period in the early seventies when he was at his visionary best - takes the situation entirely seriously, thinking logically and sensibly about how this would happen and what the poor castaway would have to do to survive and try to ensure his rescue.
Although if it was written today the author would have to explain what happened to the lead character's mobile phone, this still feels a fresh and contemporary novel. Reading it at this precise moment, where there's a lot of talk of the top 1% who take all the money and everybody else who has to pay for it (a debate which has even subsumed the new Batman film), then this book feels weirdly tapped into the mood. Our lead protagonist crashes his jaguar, and those he meets see him as a slick capitalist, an exploiter and try to give him a little comeuppance. So far, so Guardian reader's wet dream - but of course, this being Ballard, things never follow a predictable path
'Concrete Island' is a genuinely far reaching and yet small and recognisable novel. And it stands at the apex of Ballard's homespun science fiction.(
This is part of the trilogy consisting of High Rise and Crash that marked Ballard’s declaration of intent to write serious novels about contemporary themes, however it would not be until the publication of Empire of the Sun that he achieved widespread recognition.
The kindle version comes with short introduction by the author, and one by Neil Gaiman, as well as short biographical essay. There are the usual typos, for example Maitland frequently has an unnecessary hyphen in the middle. However on balance a reasonable effort for kindle.
This is a powerful and well written novel, completely different from what anyone else was writing. Although there are themes it is does not groan under the weight of literary allusions that mar some books. Having said that it can drag and often the physical descriptions seem to make little sense. Long swaying grass that never gets trampled underfoot, etc.
To a certain extent the novel is of its time, but it remains a powerful and inspiring read.
This book is cheaper in kindle format than paperback but given that the electronic reproduction costs are virtually zero it is very aggravating that the publishers could not be bothered to spend even minutes proof-reading.
The lead character, a doctor with little morals, begins life on the island as a useless case, struggling to sustain himself with food or water. But things change when he realises he isn't alone - there's not only another person living there, but two, totally contrasting human beings. And so the struggle to survive and ultimately leave the island begins.
The most interesting part of this novel: out of all the devious and dispicable acts committed on the island - the two inhabitants being a control freak and, well, a kind of inbred prehistoric man - the most calculated, gruesome act is carried out by the intelligent doctor. And it is he - the intelligent, sholared and succesful man - who's desire to be the most dominant is the greatest. It's almost like a survival of the fittest he's playing with himself. Is Ballard saying something about our own innate humanity here? Perhaps.
All in all a very entertaing read which, as another reviewr described, 'sticks in your side like a thorn'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderfully inventive story of crashing and then trying to escape from a piece of lost ground between motorways. A nice edition and good valuePublished 3 months ago by Cosher
This is my 3rd copy of Concrete Island. One of those books I love to lend out and never see again - just right for holiday flights. Fascinating story and unputdownablePublished 4 months ago by missy hissy
A brilliant insight into the mind of Ballard and a suspenseful page-turner. Pity about all the typographical errors and the 'american translation' but Kindle seems to have a... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sagebuyer
One of the best books ever written. I have often passed elaborate motorway intersections whilst driving, and have thought that the derelict\unused land within them would make prime... Read morePublished 14 months ago by joanne clayton