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Found 2 results

  1. Ballard's controversial novel sets out to explore the link between sex and car crashes. After being involved in a fatal car crash, the narrator finds himself drawn to a group of car crash survivors/ fetishists, led by the charismatic Vaughan, who recreate accidents, view crash footage as if it were pornography and find sexual liberation in exploring the wounds, deformities and disabilities their accidents have inflicted upon each other. The plot is really an aside to Ballard's unrelenting graphic descriptions of twisted metal, shattered glass, broken limbs and endless stretches of concrete. This cold, calculated way of setting a scene (combined with the emotionless characters) presents a bleak portrait of 20th century life, presumably designed as a response to the relentless consumerism and reliance on technology that 1970's Britain was experiencing. This doesn't make for an enjoyable reading experience though. After a few chapters, I was fed up hearing about the resemblance of a bare thigh to the curve of a car's instrument binnacle or other such comparisons of flesh and metal. I think the biggest problem I had with the book was that I couldn't understand why this strange link between the automobile and sex had been the means by which Ballard tried to expose modern society. I think many of his ideas get buried beneath the sex and death scenes. Maybe a second read would help, but this isn't a book I'd want to revisit in a hurry. Reading tip: If you imagine that the character of Vaughan is Jeremy Clarkson, your enjoyment of this book will increase ten-fold.
  2. Hmm, I'm probably a bit lowbrow and not too used to filling the gaps left by authors but I like a story to have well-drawn characters, with a beginning, middle and an end that are clearly defined. This had none. It was all a bit ambiguous for me I'm afraid. Because I enjoy "End of The World" books, it did have a lot in it for me, but was just so lacking in detail of the real struggles people were experiencing as civilisation descended into some kind of tribalism that it lacked punch. I have read a few reviews now and this is one that picks on the best bits (which I acknowledge were okay, just so much less than they might have been to really float my particular boat.)
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