Simon's Reviews > The Crystal World

The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard
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's review
Oct 26, 09

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bookshelves: sf
Read in October, 2009

This is my third Ballard novel and I am getting used to the way he writes; heavy use of imagery, plot as a vehicle for the thinly veiled subtexts, characters on a quest to discover something about themselves and cryptic, stilted dialogue with much left unsaid leaving the reader to fill in the gaps.

Thought provoking as ever, one really needs time to digest the book and no doubt would benefit from a re-read.

The science behind the premise of this book is mind baffling nonsense as far as I know but then, that's not really the point. Man facing various disasters and apocalypses is a common theme Ballard visits again and again but never are we ever able to effectively fight against nature, to overcome its inexplicable shifts. For Ballard, it is more about how we come to terms with change, how we come to accept nature and our place in it.

For all that, there is something about his writing that doesn't sit well with me. I am never be fully at ease with the way he writes, never quite gel with his style. I can see why many people like him a lot but I guess it is something personal, a kind of barrier. I did enjoy it though and will read more of his work in the hope that I will one day find something I can really engage with.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Have you read any of his short stories yet? That is where Ballard truly shines. His novels are OK, but he is the master of short speculative fiction. No one is better. His novella-length stuff is great, too, namely Running Wild.

I like that you mention how you are never at ease when reading Ballard - this was largely his point, to make his readers feel uncomfortable about the world around them. He is a challenging author both in terms of his style and in how he forced his readers to think differently about fiction and about their surroundings.

I highly recommend The Best Short Stories of...

message 2: by Simon (last edited Oct 27, 2009 08:14AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Simon Yeah, I have read a collection of short stories (not a best of) and they were very good. I probably prefer them to the novels I have read.

When I said that I am not at ease when reading Ballard, I don't mean that I am ill at ease with the world, I meant that I am ill at ease with the way he writes (i.e. not really in a good way).

I think this an entirely personal thing though and don't mean to detract in any way from his skills as a writer. For me though it prevents me fully engaging and therefore not enjoying his work as much as I should.

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