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Crash

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  14,707 Ratings  ·  886 Reviews
In this hallucinatory novel, the car provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 26th 1990 by Flamingo (first published 1973)
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Jeffrey Keeten
*****WARNING THIS IS A GRAPHIC ADULT REVIEW NO KIDDIES PLEASE.*****

”I knew that Vaughan could never really die in a car-crash, but would in some way be re-born through those twisted radiator grilles and cascading windshield glass. I thought of the scarred white skin over his abdomen, the heavy pubic hair that started on the upper slopes of his thighs, his tacky navel and unsavoury armpits, his crude handling of women and automobiles, and his submissive tenderness towards myself. Even as I had pl
...more
Evan
This book is a sausage made out of roadkill...and glass shards. And forced similes and metaphors strewn about the highway, ugly as a car wreck.

So much semen is spurted and wiped on the dashboard instrument panels that I ceased after awhile to wonder or care how our motorists could even read the dials.

So many commas and clauses litter the paragraphs like so many slashed half-moon rubber tires lining the interstate that one hopes Ballard did not race past the tollbooths and rob the inventors of co
...more
Fabian
Jul 06, 2012 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a novel, really—see it as an extended erotic poem instead. It’s a cool experience, and fantastically odd; it’s a journey of infatuation into the erotic element inherent in all car crashes. Like a dada experiment with clashing ideas and absurd pop symbols, everything is sensuous, even human defects are seen through a wholly unique filter, in sharp contrast with the immaculate beauty of the automobile. Sex, like driving, has plenty of potential energy that's stored up—the want for a release is ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Driving is such a pain in the ass. I always imagine myself crashing the car, colliding with a truck full of chickens, or running over a demented pedestrian whenever I’m holding a steering wheel. Not that I’m a bad driver, actually I’m an excellent driver which really means I drive like a sloth. Also, I don’t really aim sexual fulfillment whenever I get into a car. Unlike most people in this novel, a car, for me, is actually something I use to get somewhere. And as opposed to Ballard’s autoperver ...more
Chris
Mar 17, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: perverts of the most sordid rank
There are very few movies even remotely interesting enough to warrant reading the book it was adapted from; but back in the glorious years of the late 1990’s, when I saw David Cronenberg’s masterful adaptation of “Crash”, I knew there was absolutely no way I could go wrong with the book. Let’s face it, there is absolutely no way that you can sit through the entirety of the film and not get it on with whoever happens to be in close proximity, but just make sure there is someone there, even if it’ ...more
Melanie
Dec 09, 2007 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bicyclists?
Shelves: 2008
Reading this book wore me out. I like Ballard, I think he's a writer who really gets technology, modernity, isolation, etc., and I'm pretty non-judgmental about even sort of far-out fetishes, but what kept flashing through my brain was GRATUITOUS GRATUITOUS WHEN WILL THIS BOOK END ARRGH. And I don't even mean that it was gratuitous with the sex-and-accidents stuff (although it was)--the blunt, increasingly inelegant repetition of Ballard's arguments made a compelling idea, after a certain point, ...more
Mariel
Jan 20, 2012 Mariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: this is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about
Recommended to Mariel by: I could have told you all that I love you
Butt on the leather interior. Make that the hard seat vinyl sticking to the fart sound rubbing flesh like sweaty underwear that has crawled up sun don't shine places and worn for far too long and far too worn down. Ass in the seat of humanity. Hand on the wheel and the other masturbating a Johnson. Not Lyndon Johnson. Gotta be Ronald Reagan. I admit I haven't thought about wounded Ronald Reagan much since just say no to drugs! kindergarten sticker days to come up with any euphemisms in his honor ...more
Nandakishore Varma
I know this avant-garde novel is supposed have opened up brave new vistas in dystopian fiction, by "boldly going where no man has gone before". The courage of J. G. Ballard has to be admired the way he links violent death with sex: his narrative structuring is exemplary. However, I simply could not get into the book even after three or four tries. The characters were extremely unlikeable: the main premise was bizarre: and the story failed to hold my interest. I did not finish it.

So I will have t
...more
Apatt
Apr 17, 2014 Apatt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Two months before my accident, during a journey to Paris, I had become so excited by the conjunction of an air hostess's fawn gaberdine skirt on the escalator in front of me and the distant fuselages of the aircraft, each inclined like a silver penis towards her natal cleft, that I had involuntarily touched her left buttock.”
Say whaaat??!! Honestly, what the hell is this book I just read? What was the author smoking when he was writing it? (And where can I get some?). I have to say this is on
...more
Lit Bug
Vaughan dies in his final car-crash. The car he stole from his friend James Ballard, the narrator-cum-character, ten days ago. It was his last crash, the one he had planned meticulously during the course of his friendship with Ballard. His earlier crashes were but rehearsals for this final performance, when he would crash the car into the limousine of American actress Elizabeth Taylor, killing both of them in an orgy of flesh and metal, an erotic encounter that would reach its mutual orgasm at t ...more
Jan-Maat
The edition I read came with an introduction by the author in which he wrote:
...we live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind - mass-merchandizing, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the pre-empting of any original response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. It is now less and less necessary for the writer to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.

In t
...more
Joshua
Feb 02, 2008 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists, perverts, sickos, auto enthusiasts
Less of a conventional narrative arc-based novel and more of an exercise in rhythm and repetition of key phrases and imagery, Crash is not pleasurable reading. Nor, I figure, is it intended to be. It is extremely challenging, primarily owing to the graphic sex and violence, but also due to the clinical language Ballard employs to disengage the reader from the characters and their actions. The injuries are as distant as an anatomy textbook's illustrations. The sex is robotic. The word "mucus" see ...more
JBedient
Dec 18, 2008 JBedient rated it it was amazing
If you've never read Ballard, and you're curious, this is the book you want to start with. I won't get into the plot or the antiseptic, yet haunting, prose. I'll just say that all the motifs of Ballard are here, and they are presented with crystal clear precision, with touches of what I'd call industrial surrealism.

Some people find the book a little cold and detached -- but that's the whole point -- Ballard is not a Garcia Marquez, he's not painting a romantic picture full of pastels(I'm not kno
...more
Taylor
Jan 05, 2015 Taylor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eehhhhh probably no one, to be honest
The best part of Crash was the "Introduction to the French Edition" that's included at the start and isn't in all of the copies. In it, Ballard makes a compelling case for the importance of science-fiction and writing about the future, and a solid argument for why he thought to combine sex and car crashes. Unfortunately, that's the only time in 200-ish pages that he had me convinced.

Ballard's tale of people who get aroused by car crashes and mutilated bodies has aged poorly. In the '70s, it was
...more
Meseceva
Bizarnost ovog romana je fascinantna, kao i količina morbidnosti na nekih dvesta i kusur stranica. Doživljaj prilikom čitanja može se opisati kao izuzetno neprijatno, uznemirujuće iskustvo. Osnova radnje je fetiš, opsesija dovedena do tačke apsurda u kojoj postaje tragična zbog svoje ispraznosti.

Pisac kaže da je Sudar opominjuća metafora odnosa čoveka prema tehnologiji. Efekat šoka je nameran i sračunat da upornim čitaocima sa dobrim nervima i stomakom (:-)) priča ostane u dugom i nezaboravnom
...more
Steven  Godin
Jun 09, 2016 Steven Godin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british
A non-erotic, shocking and deeply disturbing auto wreck of perverted sexual carnage that just about stayed within the limitations of what my poor self could bare. Credit to J.G. though for having the balls, guts and all the rest of it to write something of this nature where many would look at this as a piece of attention seeking soft porn, I am not one of them, as believe it or not look beyond the car parts, body parts, twisted minds, and there is a deep underlying message concerning the human p ...more
Brian
Dec 22, 2010 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, in-full
And now it's time for J.G. Ballard's phantasmagoria of motorcars and masochism, spark plugs and sodomy. This book makes Tarantino's "Death Proof" look like bumper cars. Tyler Durden would take the bus before riding with anyone from Ballard's cast.

Unbeknownst to you and I, technology has altered modern life right down to its core, right down into the autonomic nervous system, where the oldest and most vital functions live. Oh yes, sex has come under the domain of our technology. We're responding
...more
Vanessa
Jul 24, 2015 Vanessa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-loaned
Crash doesn't really have a strong plot, so don't go looking for a satisfying story. Instead, go into this preparing to be hammered with imagery of sex, death, and automobiles, all in vicious technicolour detail.

The narrator (unusually and somewhat trippily named Ballard) finds himself in a horrifying car crash one day. Out of the three passengers involved, there are only two survivors: himself and Dr Helen Remington. Her husband lies dead on the hood of Ballard's car. From here on out, Ballard
...more
Kyle
Jun 28, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second or third reading of Ballard's Crash and I'm still amazed by every theme this book expels. I find the relationship between car crashes and the technology of the body so fascinating--there's just so much Ballard does with sexuality and his prose achieves a beautiful elegance that really makes reading a seemingly gruesome and pathological story incredibly enjoyable. A part of me can't help feeling liberated after reading certain passages...

Crash is easily the most daring and revol
...more
Riona
The word "semen" appears in this novel 61 times.

"Blood" appears 78 times.
"Vomit", 11 times.
"Mucus", 8 times.
"Excrement", thrice.
and "Smegma", twice.

That's really all you need to know about this novel.

Oh, and it's about a bunch of people who get off during car crashes. In case you couldn't guess from all the semen.
K.D. Absolutely
May 14, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 100 Must-Read Books for Men; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, guy-lit
This pornographic novel is sickening and pointless even if it delves on a medical condition called symphorophilia or being sexually aroused by being part or witnessing car-crash incidents. All the characters in this novel are either crippled or with scars because of having participated in intentional or simulated car crashes.

I've heard it many times that men with small penis tend to own big and expensive cars. I think this is due to the notion that car can be a penis substitute. However, in this
...more
Aaron
Jul 08, 2011 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What interests me most about Crash is that despite J.G. Ballard’s capabilities for beautiful and evocative storytelling (see "Cage of Sand"), I've never read a story that works so hard at being ugly. It almost seems like some sort of bizarre writing exercise that was published by mistake. Crash is a novel so heavily packed with morbidly clinical descriptions of gratuitous sex and violence that it's nothing short of surreal.

Now I've always considered myself a man with a strong stomach. Although C
...more
Hadrian
Hey, everybody, look! Sex! And violence! And more sex! And more violence! And loving detail to all of this! And cars! Sex and violence and cars! Look, semen and blood! Hey, everybody, look at me! Machines are bad, guys, they really are!

How boring. I really should stop.
Karina
Feb 26, 2012 Karina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, reviewed
Crash

I love this book because it focuses on three of my fetishes. Fast cars - Sex - Death. This book is not for those boring morons who live their comfortable lives oblivious of the sheer delight of Taking it to Limit. Which is what Ballard does. He takes risks. He walks on the edge of what literature is. Not only that he succeeds. It takes pure Genius to pull this off.

Let me declare this - you can't understand how fantastic life is until you walk toward the edge of that cliff. Beyond good and
...more
Jay Green
Jan 26, 2015 Jay Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This and The Atrocity Exhibition are two of my favourite books, precisely because of their weirdness, because they showed the teenage me that something surprising and original could be done with the novel form beyond the staid and traditional forms foisted upon us as A level English students. (My less fortunate peers in the soft South had to make do with Hermann Hesse.)

Both Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition belong very much to their time, of course, but they do encapsulate a sort of postmodern
...more
Regan
Aug 23, 2016 Regan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.G. Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash puts me in mind of the great poet of our time, R. Kelly, and his perspective-shifting masterpiece, Ignition, if Ignition dared to reach its erotic-subversive logical conclusion. For Ballard, the techno-eroticism of the automobile necessarily finds its end in an epic and annihilating collision, the most Kelly is willing to risk is a ticket and his shocks.

For reference, the truncated lyrics:
“Girl, please let me stick my key in your ignition, babe
So I can get this th
...more
Trevor John
Imagine a talented friend of yours picks up his guitar and starts to play the c major scale. He plays within that scale beautifully for a few minutes and continues for a few more and then, some more. Now, he's good but things are getting repetitive, and he notices you fidgeting a bit. He looks directly in your eyes as he continues to play and tells you, "This piece goes on for one hour and twenty-two minutes."

This book is about people who never get more than half a mile away from the airport, w
...more
Alex
Apr 19, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: smut, 2016
Martin Amis calls JG Ballard "a cult writer, the genuine article: extreme, exclusive, almost a one-man genre," and Crash is like nothing else. Its characters - its lead just has Ballard's name, like he can't be bothered to fake anything - are unapologetically amoral, sociopathic, almost automatic: they're into what they're into and they just go after it. Robert Vaughan, "nightmare angel of the expressways," wants to murder Elizabeth Taylor. No one mentions that murder is bad. It's an interesting ...more
dara
Nov 13, 2008 dara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this five years ago, and I hated it. I hated it fiercely. I recall thinking it better suited for a short story at best. I am almost tempted to read it again to see if I would still loathe it so strongly or if my reading tastes have changed. In the meantime, I'll just provide what I wrote about it at age seventeen:

I disliked this book so intensely that I feel I have to warn people. I bought this book because Amazon recommended it after I rated some of Chuck Palahniuk's books. Their writing
...more
Nate D
Aug 27, 2010 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: drivers
Recommended to Nate D by: Cronenberg
I'd heard going in that this novel of eroticized destruction (of automobiles, bodies, is there a difference?) would become somewhat redundant by the end. I mean, it has pretty much exactly one system to discuss: the triangulation of alienated modern life (circa the 70s) between sex, bodily harm, and automotive engineering. Yet the first quarter or so was riveting like a shattered steering column through the lungs. After that, Crash does ebb into a kind of monotony, but a mesmerizing, calculated ...more
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J.G. Ballard: Crash 13 47 Sep 19, 2013 06:10AM  
Too descriptive? 10 69 Aug 09, 2013 02:22PM  
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James Graham "J. G." Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on a ...more
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“I wanted to rub the human race in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.” 102 likes
“After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.” 58 likes
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