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4.3 out of 5 stars
20
4.3 out of 5 stars
The Kindness of Women
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on 12 December 2015
Cover 4/5 Different to the one in Amazon showing reclining nude.

Contents. I recall I found his straight autobiography a better read than Empire of the Sun. I like the way of writing in all his books. My thanks to a reviewer of my previous review of his autobiography for leading me to this book.

The factual background was interesting social history. Being presented as a novel leads me to wonder whether the full range of much of the intimate detail might have been what he would have liked it to be rather than what actually happened. There is no disclaimer about characters being fictional in my version.

*Engrossing and interesting - Yes the mix of fact and fiction works well. Thought provoking.

*Enjoyment and entertainment - Difficult to say this about a book with such so much tragic material, characters and a WW2 background.

*Emotional - Although I must have known about his personal loss from previous reading the shock came as a surprise even after the lead up to a different presentation when one knew horrible things were about to be revealed.

*Educational - His whole fact and fiction world. A very strong talented person not to have suffered, as far as I know, in the same way as David his friend in the book.

*Ease of reading - Everything flowed well. What I aspire to in my own writing.

No of characters and length of book about right. A nice collection of life stories linked together similar to the method in my own writing. I have ordered his complete short stories.

May read again. Memorable book which would have been better for less or more subtle treatment of the unwholesome intimate details.

Alexander of the Allrighters and Ywnwab!
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on 4 August 2017
I read this as I am a great admirer of Empire of the Sun, both book and film. It is a very different book,interesting to see what happened to Jim after Shanghai for the rest of his life.
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on 2 June 2017
I loved Empire of the Sun. This is what happened to Jim afterwards. It's different but you care about happened and like EOTS it is mostly true. It is surprisingly frank in parts.
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on 27 May 2017
Excellent as always from JG Ballard
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on 17 October 2012
Even if you are new to J.G. Ballard or if Ballard's other novels are not your cup of tea, this 'fictional auto-biography' loosely based on Ballard's life in the fifties and sixties is an engrossing read, Ballard's prose is at his best here, from a brilliant description of a home birth to visiting a friend in a psychiatric hospital, to losing his wife and the resultant grief, and much much more. Too good to miss and superior to his otherwise also interesting auto-biography. There are not many books quite like this.
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on 17 November 2007
I have read most of what Ballard has written; and I can't understand why this novel is so neglected, compared to The Atrocity Exhibition or Crash. To me this is the best thing he has written in the long form. Some of his short stories may be a bit better; but this is an absolute masterpiece, and it's probably the book I'd first give a friend to allow him or her to discover the Ballard World. It's a complex and astounding mix of facts and fiction, of visionary imagination and down-to-earth realism. The parts about the death of the protagonist's wife, the end of the war, the making of the movie Empire of the Sun in Shepperton should be in anthologies of English literature. His prose is dazzling, and this is probably the only long book by ballard where we don't meet his stereotypical characters only, but a wide variety of persons. All in all, a must-read for those who think Ballard is only Empire of the Sun and Crash.
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on 15 September 2015
The review looks a great read, though I have not got round to reading this, in the middle of another book.
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on 23 July 2015
Quite rude, not to be left on Aunt Winnie's armchair.
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on 4 February 2013
The second of three autobiographical texts in the Ballard canon, 'Kindness' revisits the childhood experience covered by 'Empire of the Sun' (albeit from a different angle), before embarking on the equally extraordinary life of the adult in post-war Britain. The new territory peels back another layer of explanation for the leitmotif recurrent in Ballard's fiction, grounding the outlandish and bizarre elements of his work in a reality that could not (seemingly) have been made up. In the provenance produced for signature themes such as the car crash and the sexual stimulus provided by the geometry of the built environment, the roots of his stark SF imagery can be traced back to the symptoms exhibited by sufferers of war neurosis, and the marital bliss enjoyed by the writer in his suburban home. However, as Ballard confessed in the final part of the autobiographical trilogy 'The Miracles of Life', much of what is written in 'Empire' and 'Kindness' is fictitious, and so it is through this later text that the serious detective of biography must re-read the earlier novels if they are to sort out what really is what with the Seer of Shepperton. The ambiguity in the writers feelings toward the Japanese is less poignantly reproduced in 'Kindness' than it was in 'Empire'; the childhood hunger pangs which divided his loyalty in the camp have been superceded by an adult's cravings, made all the more realiseable with the destruction of the enemy with the Atom bomb. Also, it is noteworthy that in this novel, Ballard mystifyingly resources the prose style of pornography when describing sex, a departure from his usual technique, which gives this text a certain distinction within his body of work as a whole, though not, perhaps, a favourable one.
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on 12 January 2014
After reading Empire Of The Sun, an exceptionally well written and interesting book it makes you wonder why the author wrote this sequel, I personally was glad to reach the end. I have read the write ups on the back cover and wonder if they are talking of the same book, it almost seems this was written by a different author it is so different in style. My opinion of this book, boring, uninteresting, some of these experiences I believe only exist in the authors imagination, don't bother reading it.
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