Crash

( 7 )

Overview

In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor.

A classic work of cutting-edge ...

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Crash: A Novel

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Overview

In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor.

A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, Crash explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.

A realist fantasy that blends violence and sexuality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Ballard the dystopia is not hidden under anything. Nor is it (as with so many fictional dystopias) a vision of the future. It is not the subtext. It is the text....The real shock of Crash is that technology has entered into even our most intimate human relations....There is always this mix of futuristic dread and excitement, a sweet spot where dystopia and utopia converge."—Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

"A work of very powerful originality. Ballard is among our finest writers of fiction."—Anthony Burgess

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312420338
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 244,624
  • Product dimensions: 5.89 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

J. G. Ballard is the author of numerous books, including Empire of the Sun, Concrete Island, and The Kindness of Women. He is revered as one of the most important writers of fiction to address the consequences of twentieth-century technology. His latest book is Super-Cannes. He died in 2009. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

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3 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2000

    Ballard Scores Direct Hit With Crash

    A brilliant depiction of the barriers that technology creates between people - and the efforts to crash through them to obtain some semblance of human intimacy. The car crashes jolt the dislocated characters out of the numbness of a technologically sterile world. The crashes become a vehicle to enable the main character, named Jim Ballard, to feel. Once Jim begins to feel, his sex drive is reawakened. But as a result, the resulting sex becomes ever-more violent. But no matter how many car crashes are attempted, the characters never seem to reach their destination. It's the Ballard dilemma. Is the cure any better than the disease? The misplaced hype over this book (because of the movie) links automobile crashes and eroticsim. That's not what Ballard is writing about. The car crashes don't arouse the sex drive, they jar the main character into gear. Car driving and sex drive is not original, of course, but the handling of the subject is in Ballard's able hands. He is writing about a husband who has lost his direction within his marriage and is trying to find the route back to his wife. Ballard usually uses a very simple plot concept. It is what he does with it that is so thrilling and unique. (Best line in the book: JFK's killing was technically a car crash.) This book came out in the early 70s, so it does anticipate much of the imitative fiction of the last 30 years that mixes black tech and bad sex. Ballard is so far ahead of everyone else in the subjects he tackles and the way he deals with them that he isn't on anyone's radar. The key to understanding Ballard is that because of his personal experience, he writes about people in extreme situations - those who voluntarily pass through or simply find themselves tossed beyond the borders of normalcy into a strange, undefined, unchartered territory -- which is known as Ballard country. Don't get put off by the 'auto-eroticism' of Crash. He's not going for a cheap thrill here. He is using car crashes and sex to depict people who are trying to fathom their lives and their futures - just as he uses the melting of the polar ice caps in his first book or a teenager trying to survive a Japanese prison camp during World War II (as Ballard himself did) in his most best-known book, Empire of the Sun. No one else portrays the inexplicable behavior of flawed humans struggling to survive baffling circumstances as they try to enter into their unknowable futures as well as Ballard. His books are as unpredictable as life. You never know how a Ballard book will end, or what his characters will do. That is why he is simply the best and most original writer working today. If you want to read someone who isn't imitating someone else, following the current trend in an attempt to be edgy, annoyingly self-introspective, or is tediously predictable in character, style or plot, read Ballard.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 1999

    a must !

    this is the first time i have ever written one of these things, but i considered it my duty after reading the misguided review by the gentleman who gave this book one star. nonsense !! few books delve so profoundly and intensely into the techno-driven, nightmarishly isolating reality of 20th century life. it disturbes & repulses,grips unrelentingly the darker side of the imagination. a technological pycho sexual classic. truly original, truly unforgetable. take anthony burgess' advice on this one !

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    crash

    it gives you a new perspective on cars and sexuality, but the novel becomes repetitive as ballard finds new ways to drescribe the perverse sexuality featured in this book (a fund of wonderful adjectives, similes and metaphors!) gets interesting at the end - i'd suggest it for a change of pace

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 18, 2014

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted March 17, 2011

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    Posted May 17, 2011

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