Jul 11, 10
Read in July, 2010
A deeply disturbing book, predicated on the heightened sexuality of those who have suffered - or even seek out - near-fatal automobile crashes. This was the basis for David Cronenburg's movie, which I have never seen, nor do I much want to after reading Ballard's original, inventive, and upsetting novel.
James and his wife, bored in their marriage, are given to ever more extreme sexual games to re-engage their diminished passion. Simple adultery is no longer sufficient. When James collides with another car, killing the other diver (described in brutally graphic detail), he and the surviving passenger, the dead driver's wife, are drawn into the web of a group for whom seduction and sex are deeply enmeshed with crushed metal. Auto-eroticism, as it were. This is not for the faint of heart. While the brutality is specific, the sexual thrill is rarely more than transitory, or even perfunctory. These people are truly deadened to all other senses except at the moment of near-death - the ultimate and final turn-on.
It's titillating at times, in a manner which makes one feel as vaguely complicit in the very dark demi-monde that these demi-zombies choose to inhabit while awaiting the ultimate crash, the one into death.
Not a beach read, that's for certain.