intense sensations

Posts Tagged ‘possible simile overdose

Cocaine NightsCocaine Nights by J.G. Ballard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out with tremendous promise. That sounds more patronising than I would like. It blew my mind. Is that better? I couldn’t believe I had avoided this author for so long. If you are an avid reader, not reading J.G. Ballard is like depriving yourself of air. Each sentence glitters with intelligence. The rhythm, the poise, the vocabulary, the imagery are all perfect. He has a fine sense of character and there is passion beneath his hard, cynical edge.

But as the book goes along it degenerates. Not because of the language, which continues to be perfect: perfectly judged and perfectly paced. The similes come just as thick and fast as before. The words still glitter. The images still haunt your brain.

But something happens to the credibility. J.G. Ballard is not like other men. He is aloof from ordinary human motivation. His psychology is not quite sane. He has a pathological empathy with weird conditions. He imagines humanity differently from the rest of us.

So I stopped enjoying it. He lays the groundwork for his plot very thoroughly. He is like an advertising man. He is very persuasive and very plausible. But his words are a veneer laid over a corrupt underbelly that failed to convince. The twist at the end also didn’t ring true.

I was disappointed. I was bitterly disappointed. Because when he is good he is breathtakingly good.


Books by Vanessa Wu

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