Kingdom Come: A Novel

Overview

“J.G. Ballard is the undisputed laureate of suburban psychosis. . . . A brilliant novel.”—Literary Review

A violent novel filled with insidious twists, Kingdom Come follows the exploits of Richard Pearson, a rebellious, unemployed advertising executive, whose father is gunned down by a deranged mental patient in a vast shopping mall outside Heathrow Airport. When the prime suspect is released without charge, Richard’s suspicions are aroused. Investigating the mystery, Richard ...

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Kingdom Come: A Novel

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Overview

“J.G. Ballard is the undisputed laureate of suburban psychosis. . . . A brilliant novel.”—Literary Review

A violent novel filled with insidious twists, Kingdom Come follows the exploits of Richard Pearson, a rebellious, unemployed advertising executive, whose father is gunned down by a deranged mental patient in a vast shopping mall outside Heathrow Airport. When the prime suspect is released without charge, Richard’s suspicions are aroused. Investigating the mystery, Richard uncovers at the Metro-Centre mall a neo-fascist world whose charismatic spokesperson is whipping up the masses into a state of unsustainable frenzy. Riots frequently terrorize the complex, immigrant communities are attacked by hooligans, and sports events mushroom into jingoistic political rallies. In this gripping, dystopian tour de force, J.G. Ballard holds up a mirror to suburban mind rot, revealing the darker forces at work beneath the gloss of consumerism and flag-waving patriotism.

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Editorial Reviews

Observer
“Impressively packed with brilliant apercus.”
Financial Times
“Ballard, paradoxically, with all his characters gripped by obsession and necessity, is one of the great novelists of freedom.”
Scott Bradfield - New York Times Book Review
“Nobody ever hated the contemporary world with as much intensity and conviction as J.G. Ballard... In Kingdom Come, Ballard's latest batch of preapocalyptic savages are happily clad in freshly ironed soccer jerseys and getting ready to fight for the only thing they believe in anymore — shopping at the Metro-Centre...

[T]here's a lot of irony in Ballard. If his late (and very funny) books sound peculiar to American ears, it's probably because of his very English tendency to play almost everything he says, however outrageous, at moderate to low volumes. Unlike the noisier, New Yorkerish avant-garde types who like to shock and awe their readers, Ballard doesn't shout or swear or get in your face. Even his most disturbing obscenities...are as mannered and concise and unimpassioned as a GPS device's soothing, digitally modulated voice describing how to reach the next gas station.”

New York Times Book Review
Nobody ever hated the contemporary world with as much intensity and conviction as J.G. Ballard... In Kingdom Come, Ballard's latest batch of preapocalyptic savages are happily clad in freshly ironed soccer jerseys and getting ready to fight for the only thing they believe in anymore — shopping at the Metro-Centre...

[T]here's a lot of irony in Ballard. If his late (and very funny) books sound peculiar to American ears, it's probably because of his very English tendency to play almost everything he says, however outrageous, at moderate to low volumes. Unlike the noisier, New Yorkerish avant-garde types who like to shock and awe their readers, Ballard doesn't shout or swear or get in your face. Even his most disturbing obscenities...are as mannered and concise and unimpassioned as a GPS device's soothing, digitally modulated voice describing how to reach the next gas station.— Scott Bradfield

Publishers Weekly
With all the attention paid lately to terrorist narratives and novels of suburban malaise, the prescience of Ballard’s last novel, receiving its better-late-then-never American publication after six years, will come as a shock even to hardened veterans of the late author’s psychosexual parables and visceral sci-fi. This is a pitch-black comedy of consumer fascism hooked to wary hero Richard Pearson, a recently unemployed advertising exec who returns to suburban London to investigate his father’s death inside the monolithic Metro-Centre mall at the hands of a machinegun-wielding madman. But something much more sinister is at play, an evil that lurks inside boutiques and car parks, transmitted by commercials that make it seem as if everyone is a suspect except for the killer. Racial violence is on the rise, suburban assassinations and bombings have become as ubiquitous as strip malls, and Metro-Centre looms as a new church awaiting its messiah (or its führer?). Pearson goes deep into a bizarre conspiracy that extends beyond mere capitalist critique to a murderous vision of 21st-century Britain. But it is the connections Ballard makes between anti-Muslim violence, elective insanity, and governments complicit with autocratic corporate agendas that make this novel a compulsory read and a wicked masterpiece of postmodern post-9/11 literature, a chilling vision of things as they are. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871403193
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 2/4/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 942,180
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (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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