In Cocaine Nights , J. G. Ballard stretches the taught canvas of his transgressive vision over the framework of old-fashioned mystery. The setting: the swank Spanish resort of Estrella de Mar, where young retirees from Europe's chillier climes bask in a lifestyle of endless leisure. Into the queasy beauty of this artificial environment steps Charles Prentice, a London travel writer who has come to visit his brother Frank, manager of Club Nauticotennis and swim club by day, coked-up discotheque by night. Frank is in jail, having confessed to setting an explosive fire that has taken five alive. Certain the confession was coerced, Charles lances his own investigation. But Frank isn't interested in salvation, and the Spanish police don't want their open-and-shut case corrupted by a meddling Brit. Refusing to abandon his crusade, Charles soon finds himself drawn into Estrella de Mar's dark underworld, and as Cocaine Nights accelerates toward its disturbing climax, Ballard once again reveals his visionary mastery.
Cocaine Nights 3 out of 5based on
schwarzz on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
It started out like an ultramodern noir and then slips into something else... It was hypnotic as it morphed into a cultural critique and the ending was not only unexpected but also well thought out, this was not a crappy twist, but instead an (il)logical conclusion.
J.v.d.A. on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
I finally got around to buying a book by Ballard and reading it. I hope I bought the wrong one and this silly book isn't a measure of the rest he has written. Wildly drawn and completely absurd premise written in a completely pedestrian manner. Reading this book was a waste of my time.
mrtall on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
This is a strange but oddly powerful novel, which from what I gather pretty much sums up J G Ballard's work.Cocaine Nights is set up as a murder mystery, but that's just a front. It's essentially a 'concept' book that has strong affinities with science fiction. Ballard is interested in what makes a group of people form something greater than themselves; let's call it a 'culture'. His test tube is a community of British expats living in gated 'communities' in Spain. They all stay home and take tranquilizers until something -- someone -- gets them stirred up. But then a tragedy occurs: a rich couple and their hangers-on are burned to death in deliberately-set fire, and our first-person narrator arrives in town to investigate because his younger brother's been arrested for the crime.The 'whodunit' aspect of the book will disappoint murder mystery aficionados, but it's a very good read for anyone who wants to think about how the world really works. It's not clear how Ballard himself would answer the big questions he raises, but it's very enjoyable going along for the ride.A couple of stylistic issues. First, even though he employs a first-person narrator, Ballard's tone is detached and almost hallucinatory at many points. This does not make for a 'sympathetic' reading experience. I also found that the first half of the book lagged quite a bit, but the second half takes off smartly. Finally, Ballard's a bit more didactic than he needs to be in hammering away at his socio-cultural musings. A good and interesting read, none the less. Recommended.
From Lao-tse and the Buddha, St. Anthony and the early Celtic hermits, through Rousseau, Thoreau,
Ruskin, and up to the present day, certain gifted persons have shown a vocation for living alone and apart, finding in simplicity and attention to ...
In August 1978, thirteen women left San Francisco for the Nepal Himalaya to make history
as the first Americansand the first womento scale the treacherous slopes of Annapurna I, the world’s tenth highest peak. Expedition leader Arlene Blum here tells ...
Robison uses a minimalist discipline and barely ruffled surfaces, but her hidden pictures of childhood
and other states of vulnerability are boundless in their emotion. The Los Angeles Times Book Review The eleven stories in Believe Them , most ...
In 2010, bestselling author Kathleen Winter (Annabel) embarked on a journey across the storied Northwest
Passage, among marine scientists, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and curious passengers. From Greenland to Baffin Island and all along the passage, Winter bears witness to the ...
When Bonnie J. Rough receives the test results that confirm she is a carrier of
the genetic condition hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or H.E.D., it propels her on a journey deep into her family’s past in the American West.At first glance, ...
In these poems, Wendell Berry combines plainspoken elegance with deeply felt emotionthis is work of
both remembrance and regeneration. Whether writing as son of a dying father or as father of a daughter about to be wed, Berry plumbs the ...
In An Extravagant Hunger, time slows and is relished, and the turning points and casual
strolls of M.F.K. Fisher’s life are unwrapped and savored. From the Berengaria that washed her across the sea to France in 1929, to Le Paquis, ...
The two great streams of Zen Buddhism are the Soto sect, known as the School
of Silent Illumination, and the Rinzai school of rigorous koan study. Dogen established Soto Zen in Japan, and his work is widely known in the ...