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High Rise (Flamingo Modern Classic) Paperback – January 3, 1998
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
"High Rise" centers around four major characters: Dr. Robert Laing, an instructor at a local medical school, Richard Wilder, a television documentary producer, Anthony Royal, an architect, and the high rise building all three live in with 2,000 other people. Throughout the story, Ballard switches back and forth between these three people, recording their thoughts and actions as they live their lives in the new high-rise apartment building. Ballard made sure to pick three separate people living on different floors of the forty floor building: Laing lives on the twenty fifth floor, Wilder lives on the second floor, and Royal lives in a penthouse on the fortieth floor (befitting his status as the designer of the building). Where you live in this structure will soon take on an importance beyond life itself.
At the beginning of the story, most of the people living in the building get along quite well.Read more ›
Though I enjoyed the novel, I feel it goes on a bit farther than it should. Essentially, it is a take on the old 'worldship' stories, modified for an era that does not dream of the stars, all of which that I've read have been in a novella length, and well-served for it. While Ballard tries to fill every page with worthwhile words, one can almost see him straining to keep the work at novel length, rather than taking the pay cut that comes with short fiction. And, truly, a few repetitive scenes do little to distract from the overall story, and readers will get their money's worth with High-Rise.
WARNING: dog lovers, this novel contains several scenes, including one quite pivotal one, of violence towards dogs. As previously noted, the prose never becomes grotesque, but still be warned.
The appeal lies more in Ballard's literary qualities and stylistic choices rather than the novel's ideas which are dominated (albeit, I'm being overly simplistic) by a virulent strain of "Lord of the Flies syndrome" afflicting adults, instead of children, crammed into an "island-like" building. Wine war paint instead of pig blood... Chowing on Alsatian dog instead of feral pig... etc.
Plot Summary (limited spoilers)
"Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within his huge apartment building during the previous three months."
And so begins our protagonist's (antagonist?) relentlessly dark (and relentlessly predictable) apartment wanderings -- a crumbling society plagued (in increasing degrees) by flickering electricity, disturbed naked drunken rampages along dog pee filled elevators, rape, suicide, the self-destruction of the upper class.
Laing is one of two thousand occupants of an ultra-modern apartment building for the wealthy which contains entertainment facilities, grocery stores, an endless supply of alcohol (a liquor store), swimming pools, and schools. A few minor inconveniences (a weak electricity supply, malfunctioning elevators) leads to the escalation of tension between the occupants.
Although all the occupants are wealthy, those that live higher up band together against the lower floors and a "class struggle" breaks out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a fabulous novel and I can't wait to see the movie. Yes, I did read this book because of the trailer for the movie looked intriguing. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jen
Quite frankly, that was one of the strangest books I've ever had the pleasure to read. The story was completely unsettling, and it was beautifully written. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Lindsay
It was an interesting book, and very well written. It was just not quite what I was expecting, and seemed a little slow. That being said, the writing seems to make up for that. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Wesley Bowman
This dystopian fiction has much to offer about modern life and its depersonalization. It's a mix of 'Lord of the Flies,' "The Machine Stops" (Huxley) and like fiction, but told as... Read morePublished 14 days ago by R. Weiss
“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... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Solari
While reading this book, I recalled reading about an experiment with rats conducted by John B. Calhoun back in the 1960's and how rat-overcrowding led too all manner of social and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by The Guardian
My favorite book of this genre. Quite possibly my favorite book of all.Published 1 month ago by fdmelcher
A mostly SPOILER FREE review.
I’d always wished to read J. G. Ballard ever since I had seen Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of his novel EMPIRE OF... Read more