High-Rise

High-Rise

by J. G. Ballard

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871404022
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 04/16/2012
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 188,728
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.51(d)

About 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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High Rise 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not for those with a weak stomach but an intriguing look at the breakdown of overly modern and isolated society. Use of phrasing for imagery is beautifully done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in college in the 80's... and this book has never left my mind. It is a great allegory for how society can be stratified.
clfisha on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The 1st line pretty much sums this up:"Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months" Written in 70s, set in the (then) futuristic vision of huge luxury high rises blocks which contain everything you need (schools, shops, restaurants) which soon breakdown into a hellish dystopia. If you have read Ballard before you can see how this goes: a violent, intense and dramatic breakdown. It is fascinating as much for this societal breakdown as it is for the latter twist into more offbeat horror story. This twist in facts freshens the plot as much as it serves to jar narrative. In fact some of these later ideas are evocative enough to stay with me and make me wish for a survival horror game based on the book. Apart from the ideas the other highlight in the book is the use of setting; the fact that the building not only creates the initial conflicts but also drives the plot much more than his passive protagonists. The high rise grounds the more over the top happenings in reality, which it has to be said doesn't seem that out of date (people start film everything even if it¿s not in digital).Of course this brings me to the book`s failures. A dystopia always requires disbelief in its setup and always leans towards exaggeration but you will have to cope with both aspects throughout the book. Although it is a sobering thought that he did witness societal breakdown and incarceration in camps during WWII, so how much of an exaggeration it is who knows. His characters are weirdly passive, misogynistic things who just ramble in and out of a tall tale. Getting 3 protagonists (male) gives a great multi view point of ongoing events and help to keep the pace up but they are all unlikeable, irritating and sexist. Now whilst you are really going to have accept the inherent sexism and move on (or giggle at it or maybe use as a case study in a certain type of male psychology) it¿s hard to take the other faults. Well Ok it's a bit easier as we know it¿s not going end well... Oddly while I recognise I dislike some aspects of the book, I couldn¿t imagine the book without them and enjoyed it because of them. In fact I will be picking up some more, probably [Drowned world] and do recommend this book to horror and dystopian fans. Ballard is so widely influential it is probably worth trying him at least once, although lovers of [The empire of the sun] may be a bit shocked.
Nickelini on LibraryThing 7 months ago
An interesting premise, if you can suspend belief that no one would have called the police.
Sean191 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Second book from Ballard and it was just too out there. Especially after reading Concrete island. The opinion I've formed of Ballard: He creates a situation to explore human nature, but I don't think he puts enough thought into how plausible the situation is or he doesn't care since it's secondary to the main point of studying the people. Unfortunately, I don't feel his take on people is realistic or profound. I don't think I'll be reading further books from him.
roblong on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I'm coming to the conclusion that I like the idea of Ballard's books rather than the books themselves. Was looking forward to this one but never quite got into it, and even though it's a short novel it felt a bit of a slog. The ideas are interesting, and the situation well handled in some respects (if slightly forced; you have to suspend some serious disbelief that not one person calls the police), but it doesn't really come alive. The main reason is obvious the moment you open the book - block paragraph after block paragraph describing someone doing something, but no real interaction between the characters or dramatic tension built up between them. It's particularly frustrating as being let off the leash is just what the characters want, and why the plot follows the path it does...There are some satisying bits and he does a good job of putting over why people actually want their civilisation to be torn up in this way, but for me it reads like an extended synopsis rather than a really good novel.
john257hopper on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was my first Ballard novel, but certainly won't be my last. I do like dystopian fiction and this depicts horrifically and initially quite realistically the decay of life in a tower block where residents have no sense of social responsibility of proper appreciation of the threads that bind together a community. However as the decay progresses and the horrors mount, questions of lack of realism do arise. There are 2000 people in this high-rise, many of them with high powered and quite public jobs. Why do no employers and colleagues notice people not turning up to work? Why do none of the residents communicate with the outside world during the early stages and later fail to escape from the horrors going on? Surely many residents would shop and eat outside - the supermarket and restaurant cannot cater for so many people and seem to receive no deliveries. Where is the plague of rats and consequent disease that would result from such accumulations of rubbish?These problems aside, this is a great and chilling piece of writing. I've already bought The Drought from eBay.
dubflicker on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Awesome story; a high-rise building, over a series of progressively worse equipment and maintenance failures, polarizes into alliances between different floors, and the different tribes, and gradually descents into almost total savagery. I also like how all of the character we get perspectives from initially distance themselves intellectually from the whole process, but gradually become more and more willing to live in and take part in these tribal wars. When you examine this novel for plausibility in a larger world, it stops making much sense, but it\'s very persuasive while you\'re reading it. Recommended.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
"Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the usual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months." - JG Ballard, High Rise So Pride and Prejudice this is not, but this book has one of the best opening lines of all time. Believe me when I say that neither Jerry Brown nor Eric Garcetti have read this book. If they had read it, they would not push an agenda of mixed use high rise residency living. This is a horror story. I've seen it described as a dystopian novel - but it's not. Not really. I mean, it happens in the not so distant future - five minutes in the future. Nothing really happens to put the world in crisis. The only thing that "happens" is that people live in a mixed use high rise and lose all need to leave their quickly devolving utopia. The building itself is the central character exerting its influence on all the other characters. Marginally, it's about the narrator, Dr. Laing, or filmmaker, Richard Wilder, or Anthony Royal, architect of this monstrosity. But at it's core, it's about the building. And it's lovely. The abandonment of outside life, the breakdown of social constructs, and the escalation of violence (particularly against women and animals). It's the devolution of mankind and really a statement that, even in a high rise comprised entirely of the rich and middle class, we still become tribal and find striations in whatever society we find ourselves in.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
I liked some things about 'High-Rise'; others, not so much. My problem with the book wasn't so much the quality of writing (which was sound), or even the story (which was reasonably interesting). Rather, it was the book's overall presentation, which struck me as somewhat rushed and overly condensed, to the point that it bypassed brevity and crossed into a lack of raw context and development -- a rare instance of under-writing, instead of over-, in my opinion. Also, the characters, suffering from this underdevelopment, struck me as shallow and without texture, such that they came off as one-dimensional (when someone was mentioned by name, it meant nothing to me, conjuring none of the feelings or mental images that I would normally associated with a fictional character). To be fair, this perceived lack might've just been from the state of mind in which I read the book, as to be a case of bad reader rather than bad writing; I can't say. In any case, the text failed to transport me (at times, I couldn't even understand what was happening or why), to the extent that it detracted from my essential enjoyment. Perhaps another reader might feel differently. However, 'High-Rise' did have a saving grace: its value as a psychological and sociological study. Namely, the book provided a solid, perceptive commentary on the potential social byproducts of the prevailing culture in much of the modern world, in which a rigid structure of largely unspoken social conventions defines much of one's thought and behavior. In a nut, 'High-Rise' explores the premise that such brute-force repression only confines commonly undesirable behavior and other social ills, so much sweeping our collective issues under the rug, rather than producing truly healthy people (or that's how I read the book, anyway). And, though these ideas were executed in a somewhat hyperbolic manner, they are, in my experience, essentially valid (and fully possible), such that a general air of authenticity ran through the text. As it were, I was able to appreciated this aspect of the book, despite whatever literary problems I thought it possessed; in the end, I finished 'High-Rise' feeling educated and provoked (if a bit awkward from the prose itself). My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brisk, thrilling and dark this story sounds the depths of depravity. Have you ever caught a glimpse, as if through a crack in the doors of civility, the true nature of your friends and neighbors? JG Ballard throws open the doors.
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