“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.
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.
Kingdom Come 4 out of 5based on
angeltyuan on LibraryThing
4 days ago
Despite being an assigned reading for my consumerism class, I did quite enjoy this book.The underlying tension throughout the entire story helps keep the reader intrigued. The social commentary liberally peppered every five pages or so makes this either a very interesting read (if you're studying consumerism) or tedious (if you're looking for character development).The main character/narrator, Richard Pearson, is a very bland man. He is a recently-fired ad man and has many ideas and strategies going through his head, but sometimes he becomes a little too passive, letting the story carry him instead of the other way around. It sometimes feels like he is the ghost watching events unfold.However, there are other parts where he is clearly in denial about his own responsibilities. He is the insecure manipulator questioning his own role in the world of illusions. At times, it almost seems he's fooled even himself with his campaigns.This detachment however, applies to many other characters as well, each in ways paranoid, crazy, or deliberately hiding something. The "mystery" is intriguing, but the revealing of it was pretty anti-climatic (most people will probably guess it at the beginning).
elyreader on LibraryThing
4 days ago
Ballard's affectless style is used to good effect in this story of a man investigating the disturbing death of his father in a west London shopping mall. His search uncovers an emerging sub-culture of consumerism and atavistic violence combining to generate a new mode of English cultural identity far from the civility we would ordinarily like to profess. In many ways this follows on from the morality tales of the seventies - "Concrete Island", "Crash" and "High Rise". It does not add much more to the dystopian vision of these books but in its curious mixture of detective fiction, anthropology and aphoristic meditation on contemporary mores "Kingdom Come" does provide timely satire and forms a sad farewell from a modern master.
joes on LibraryThing
3 months ago
Pure Ballard. At this stage I pretty know what to expect from Ballard and this didn't disprove the theory for both good and bad. There is know doubt that Ballard can create a world so close to our own but with a undercurrent of menace always bubbling to the surface. His argument is (from the very interesting author's notes at the end of the book) that people are not inherently good. This argument seems sound enough when one looks at the acts of war but strains credibility for me at least that it will arise from middle class boredom which is the premise of the book. He could well be right however. Again the word 'dystopian' applies and nobody does it better. It's not in any way a pleasant book to read and therein lies its strength however leaving me dismissive but ever so slightly unsettled.
More than 1 year ago
With J.G. Ballard's brilliant use of language Kingdom Come holds up a mirror darkly to our modern culture of advertising and consumerism. From a car carrier with its new vehicles shiny enough to eat, or lick, to a sports stadium like an open-air night club, the images batter and the descriptions burnish us with words. Everyone we see appears to be shopping even if that's not what they're doing.
In an eerie resonance of ripped-from-the-headlines hoopla the story revolves around a shooting at a suburban London mall, there nothing is true or un-true but consistently available for purchase.
All things center around the Always Open mall, the Metro-Centre, where there is no Time or Season, where Life is only an intense transactional present. A world of willed madness.
Kingdom Come is a surreal evocation of Orwell, Kafka, Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs but wholly a creation of the singular voice of J.G. Ballard.
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