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Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.

Ballard's Crash

Crash - J.G. Ballard

This is the third book I have read by Ballard and the first that is not Science Fiction.  I saw the Cronenberg adaptation of Crash, which I hated and kept away from the book until I decided that I liked Ballard.  It makes sense that I hated the movie, because this book is not adaptable,  Ballard, for me, is more about a feeling than anything else.  Ballard has masterful prose and invokes feelings with affect. 


This book is about car crashes and sex.  Almost every page is filled with descriptions of car crashes and sex with the two topics jumbled up in formalized concatenations of every possible configuration.  I suppose you could see the book as saying something about how human relations are mediated by technology as the back of my book says, but I don't know what that would be.  For me there is a formalized telling of the story.  The two main characters become obsessed with different sex/crash positions and wounds and the book itself does that.  There is something voyeuristic and perverse as death, mutilation and sex get all mixed up and repeated in slightly new configurations.  Even the language is continually repeated.  I started looking for the word "carapace" which is repeated about every five pages, always in some slightly new way.


The end result is exhausting and genuinely disturbing.  I don't know if all adds up to anything meaningful other than Ballard's ever present view of the world as driven by the second law of thermodynamics.  However the feeling of exhaustion over a jumble of sex, death and technology is overwhelming by the end.  It is almost a disturbing prose poem, really.


Good, although certainly not for everyone.