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High-Rise: A Novel Paperback – April 16, 2012
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‘Ballard’s finest novel … a triumph’ The Times
‘ingenious … ‘High-Rise’ is an intense and vivid bestiary, which lingers unsettlingly in the mind’ Martin Amis
‘Chilling … Ballard is a prophetic writer’ Sunday Times
‘The writing is cool, the observation exact, the idea bold and well-developed; everything seems to demand attention and analysis’ Financial Times
‘The terrifying thing about Ballard is his logic; is this science fiction or history written ahead of its time?’ Len Deighton--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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Top customer reviews
There is so much substance packed into this 207-page book.
The entire story takes place inside a 40-story luxury high-rise that houses about 2,000 people – an ostensibly homogenous group of high-income individuals. But as tensions begin to arise between the wealthy dog owners on the top floors and the families on the bottom floors, the residents of the high-rise divide into three groups, driven by power and self-interest. The hostilities gradually increase as they assimilate into their self-imposed hierarchies within the building and devolve into chaos and anarchy.
Ballard cleverly positions the high-rise as both a literal structure and a social structure. But as the characters devolve into a Hobbesian state of nature, the most disturbing thing of all is that they admit to feeling happier. Finally able to exercise their most devious impulses, they slowly reveal more genuine versions of themselves.
Clearly lots of fascinating themes to unpack here – and no surprise coming from J.G. Ballard. Like a Lord of the Flies for adults, this was a dark and twisted read.
It’s a short book, 205 pages, and its written very well in terms of descriptions, setting the mood, etc. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions that really drew you into the book.
I had a few problems with the book. Specifically, it chronicles an entire apartment building’s tenants and their surprisingly fast decent into madness but really never comments on why. Ballard inserts the occasional power outage as the catalyst for their fervor but it’s a stretch and I felt like he should have touched off on this more. None of the characters are likeable, there are multiple references to animals being beaten, killed, eaten, etc. It was tough to read some times.
Overall, the book was well written and at times Ballard really hit the nail on the head with his descriptions of people’s thoughts. That said the book was too short for this much content and was unrealistic at times. I would give it a pass but still 3 stars for the writing style.
Most recent customer reviews
My problem with the book wasn't so much the quality of writing (which was sound), or even the story (which...Read more