The Day of Creation by J. G. Ballard, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Day of Creation
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The Day of Creation

by J. G. Ballard
     
 

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"Compulsively absorbing: the white heat of its images seems to burn off the page, and the surreal landscapes linger on in the mind." —Independent
On the arid, war-plagued terrain of central Africa, a manic doctor is consumed with visions of transforming the Sahara into a land of abundance. But Dr. Mallory’s obsession quickly spirals dangerously

Overview

"Compulsively absorbing: the white heat of its images seems to burn off the page, and the surreal landscapes linger on in the mind." —Independent
On the arid, war-plagued terrain of central Africa, a manic doctor is consumed with visions of transforming the Sahara into a land of abundance. But Dr. Mallory’s obsession quickly spirals dangerously out of control. First published in 1987, this classic Ballard thriller continues to resonate “with dark implications for the future of humanity” (Publishers Weekly).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Part spellbinding story, part fable for our time, Ballard's novel is a vividly cinematic but nightmarish vision of a corrupted world. Dr. Mallory has come to a backward, drought-plagued and poverty ridden African country to run a WHO clinic, but constant warfare between a ragged band of guerrillas and the local chief of police has caused the tribal residents to flee. By accident, Mallory uncovers a mysterious stream that soon becomes a swiftly flowing river, and he dreams of creating a green Sahara and ``saving'' the Third World. Naming the river after himself and obsessively identifying with it, he immediately finds himself in conflict with Dr. Sanger, a charlatan maker of TV documentaries, who believes that his ``flattering revision of nature was an act of creation as significant as the original invention of the river.'' Mallory undergoes a sinister change of heart, acknowledging a self-destructive impulse whose origins in his past are only dimly described. Suddenly deciding he must destroy the river, he travels toward its source on a derelict ferry with a former guerrilla, a 12-year-old girl he names Noon, and who progresses in a matter of weeks from Stone Age primitivism to a fascination with technology. Mallory encounters terrifying dangers at every stage of his quest. The area surrounding the river, which at first seemed Edenic, becomes poisoned by the water's now miasmic influence, the people along its banks falling deathly ill with fever and starvation. Mallory himself slides into full-fledged dementia and delirium as he battles the guerrillas, the militia and the forces of nature. In a narrative filled with ironies, Ballard's prose is honed and supple, often flowering into vivid lyricism. His characters are larger than life, each carrying the destructive impulses that decimate civilization. Some readers may resist the unrelievedly dark, ominous atmosphere, a profoundly depressing nightmare that goes on a little too long, and find that Mallory is too much an opaque, unsympathetic character, almost a device. Ballard's scorn for technological ``marvels'' (the makers of TV documentaries are ``the con men and the carpetbaggers of the late 20th century'') sometimes overpowers his storytelling skills, and the roots of Mallory's suicidal obsession are never made clear. Yet this is a mesmerizing tale by a master of the craft, one that resonates with dark implications for the future of humanity on this planet.
Library Journal
Ballard's demented narrator, Dr. Mallory, believes he can fertilize the Sahara with a river he has ``created'' in a desolate, warring region of Africa. ``The river and I were one,'' he announces as he embarks on a search for the source of the Mallory, reminding us repeatedly that a duel is taking place between them. His companion and the object of his puerile fantasies is a native girl named Noon, whom he treats like an exotic pet. When they finally reach the source, the river dries up as Mallory kneels in it. Mallory's delusions are all we know of him and of the misfits he encounters. Consequently, we cannot care for them; we can only wish for a swift end to their implausible ordeal. -- Leonard Kniffel, Detroit Public Library
Samuel R. Delany
There's an overwhelming urge to discuss The Day of Creation in terms of plot, probably because so much of that plot is so murky....The novel's faults lie mostly in the middle distance, where a work of fiction is more than a collection of well or badly wrought sentences but is still less than the overview of its structural organization, formal parallels and esthetic arrangements....When we move in to look at the people, the relations between them, or the simple succession of events, things get very cloudy.... Over the years, a writer as individual as this must teach us how to read his or her works....I wish Mr. Ballard could give us more vivid characters and incidents within his intensely symbolic parables. -- The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871404046
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
05/21/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
811,480
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

J.G. Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930 and lived in England from 1946 until his death in London in 2009. He is the author of nineteen novels, including Empire of the Sun, The Drought, and Crash, with many of them made into major films.

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