Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review : Crash - JG Ballard 5*

I can't say that I enjoyed Ballard's take on human sexuality and technology, but perhaps that is the point.  All of the main characters are without warmth or compassion, they are filled with sexual heat though as they explore the deviant possibilities thrown up by motor vehicle accidents.  They are cold people, sure they have a lot of sex, but it is sex without kindness, without feeling, without any other emotion than base desire.

Ballard said about his reasons for writing the novel "I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror."  The author takes one part of the human psyche and fixates it on an obsession with technology and a growing public infatuation with celebrity. The disturbing Vaughan, some time scientist and accident victim, gathers around him a cult of like minded people, those who have also been involved in accidents, who are both mentally and physically scarred by their experiences.  Vaughan and his acolyte Seagrave move ever closer to realising the ultimate fantasy and ecstasy of dying in a collision with Elizabeth Taylor's car.

Crash is certainly clever, and Ballard's writing is ingenious and inventive, but overall I found the novel to be deeply unsettling, although this does rather seem to be Ballard's aim in writing it.

The cover picture isn't an actual book cover, but rather a re-cover designed by two bloggers who take their own photographs and produce their own book covers.  They have another alternate cover for crash on their front page at the moment....Re-cover Project.

78 books read from the 1001 list.

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