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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  25,263 ratings  ·  2,330 reviews
When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on "enemy" floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 16th 2012 by Liveright (first published November 1975)
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Il Filostrato Speculative science fiction mixed with social satire as was much of Ballard's more well-known works. The term 'science fiction' is a many-headed beast…moreSpeculative science fiction mixed with social satire as was much of Ballard's more well-known works. The term 'science fiction' is a many-headed beast. I wouldn't call it 'futuristic' because it's purpose is to reevaluate modernity, not the future. High-Rise is a work of enduring relevance because convenience is dependent on that which is outside the individual and self-sufficiency makes demands of the individual. The high-rise has the illusion of both. This is its vanity and the vanity of all of its residents too ignorant or too arrogant to acknowledge it. Volatile.(less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
"A low crime-rate doctor," she told him amiably, "is a sure sign of social deprivation."

Anthony Royal built the Titanic of skyscrapers.


A state of the art, megalithic structure suitable for 2,000 tenants. It is a self-contained environment with everything a tenant would need such as shopping or exercise or even schools for their kids. The people the building attracts are white collar, well educated, professionals. The apartments sell out quickly and as everyone start to settle into their ne
mark monday

Luxury Living - To Die For!

Our extra-ordinary apartment complex is a full-service microcosm and so offers all the comforting amenities and thrilling excitements of the modern world - in one lavish locale. Imagine never having to step foot outside again! Whether your interests include swimming, shopping, the education of youngsters, simply lounging about without a care... or even more outré amusements such as rape, murder, incest, cannibalism, and the creating of
As I was walking along the aisles of the bookstore, I suddenly heard a little raspy voice, coming from one of the shelves.

"Psst, four-eyes! Over here!"


It was J.G. Ballard's novel, "High-Rise" , talking to me.

"Don't you look like a jolly chap! All happy and stuff. Not a worry in the world. And so decent! Why are you so goddamn decent all the time?"

"Huh? Are you supposed to be talking?"

"I do whatever I damn well please! Tell me, you look like the kind of goody two shoes who act
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
In many ways, JG Ballard’s High-Rise reminded me of his earlier dystopian novel, The Drowned World. Conditions in the apartment block at the epicenter of this novel constantly degrade. Like The Drowned World in which creatures adapt to a suddenly changed and very wet Earth, there is continuous adaptation from the apartment dwellers to the pressures of living in what has increasingly become a hostile environment. In this case, the adaptation is something chosen as a way to deal with the new reali ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
331. High Rise, J.G. Ballard (James Graham Ballard)
High-Rise is a 1975 novel by British writer J. G. Ballard. The story describes the disintegration of a luxury high-rise building as its affluent residents gradually descend into violent chaos. As with Ballard's previous novels Crash (1973) and Concrete Island (1974), High-Rise explores the ways in which modern social and technological landscapes could alter the human psyche in provocative and hitherto unexplored ways. It was adapted into a film
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, sociology, sci-fi
Social Sci-Fi

For a few years in the 1980’s I had a flat in Lauderdale Tower at the Barbican in London. All of the Barbican development is brutalist - cast concrete with exposed cast marks etc. - but Lauderdale and it’s sister-towers are particularly extreme examples, sporting pebble-dashed balconies and bare internal walls that reject even the most technologically advanced wallpaper adhesives. I take it from Ballard’s descriptions that English architectural aesthetics hadn’t advanced very far wh
Kevin Kelsey
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of New Wave SF, Subtle Dystopias
Shelves: favorites, read-2016
Posted at Heradas Review

A disturbing/enthralling allegory - class struggle, self deception, and the animalistic brutality concealed just below the surface of human civilization.

I knew of Ballard from the new-wave SF of the late 60s / early 70s, particularly Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions compilations, wherein he's described - by Ellison in his story introduction - as one of the few mainstream lit crossovers coming from the world of speculative fiction. He is an eloquently gifted writer, str
Henry Avila
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
In the near future High-Rise buildings tower in the sky with thousands of humans living together uneasily , in cramp modern quarters the unknown dangers will reveal their inadequacies soon enough, the setting London in a former slum, the Thames River flows in a leisurely way a short distance from the five edifices separated hundreds of yards from each . The affluent inhabitants living in this forty stories structure will deteriorate, class warfare hidden just under the surface but always ready t ...more
Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.
This is one instance where I'm painfully aware of the inadequacy of a star-rating system for books. To give Ballard's High-Rise three stars does very little to capture its strengths, but more importantly, its ultimate failure as a novel. I'm going to try and do that in my review here, but just in case my ramblin
Susan Budd
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading Concrete Island, I was confident that even if I read everything Ballard ever wrote, nothing could top it. Then I read High-Rise.

Like Concrete Island, High-Rise depicts the psychological dangers inherent in modern life. But unlike Concrete Island, it has a large cast of characters. This difference is necessitated by the settings of each novel. The traffic island of Concrete Island is a place that is normally uninhabited, so when Maitland crashes there he becomes its sole occupant ~
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read all of his short stories some time ago, I’ve finally decided to check out his full length novels. His short stories are famous for being vivid and imaginative, not to mention incredibly prophetic, but let me say that this book is like nothing I've read before (perhaps Saramago emulates in “Blindness” the mass hysteria of a people left to fend for themselves [or who prefer it that way] in a similar way… it has some traces of “Lord of the Flies” [and Margaret Atwood definitely owes him ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
High Rise gives us a story that confirms that we are merely living in a pretence civilised world. This pretence can be blown to pieces in an amazingly short time given the right conditions. If we feel that it is no longer necessary to obey to civil manners, it is immediately clear that primal urges are only skin deep.
The destruction of the social life of the High Rise apartment complex of 40 floors starts simple enough. A bottle of champagne is dropped deliberately on the nice mosaic floor of Dr
Steven Godin

A masterpiece in my opinion.

Like the High-Rise apartment block itself, Ballard's novel works brilliantly on many different levels. It also contains an unforgettable opening line that might be hard to swallow for dog lovers.

This darkly satirical and dystopian-esque urban tale might have seemed completely crazy back in the 70's, but the scary thing is that reading it today it's not as far away from reality as one might think. At least parts of it anyway. Normally, this is the type of novel I'd lau
May 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Oh J.G. Ballard. I just don't think we are meant to be friends.

Other than Crash, High-Rise is the only other thing that I have ever been interested in reading by Ballard. I saw the film adaptation with Tom Hiddleston, which I enjoyed (although felt it was a little style over substance), so when I saw that the audiobook was narrated by Hiddleston himself, I decided to try Ballard again in a slightly different form.

Hiddleston is a great narrator, and even employs different accents in his reading w
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia, 2018, fiction
"The high-rise was a huge machine designed to serve, not the collective body of tenants, but the individual resident in isolation."
- JG Ballard, High-Rise


I love Ballard. He both attracts and repels me at the same time. No. That isn't quite it. He freaks the hell out of me. His stories and novels are so damn sharp and prescient. 'High-Rise' was written in 1975 (43 years ago!), right after Crash (1973) and Concrete Island (1974), but he seems to GET the psychology of Twitter and Facebook. He gets
Greg Watson
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The setting for J.G. Ballard's story is a luxury high-rise in 1970s London. Here Ballard portrays morality as conventional. He imagines a world in which all authority and social conventions are stripped away, and the darkest sides of human nature are given free rein.

The occupants of the high-rise gradually devolve from civil professionals to violent marauders. As the buildings' utilities fail, its occupants come to prefer its squalor and lawlessness to the world of convention outside the high-ri
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015

High-Rise is not an easy novel to fit into a specific genre. It's not exacly science-fiction because the time frame is contemporary England (cca. 1975). Yet the novel does try to use a scientific approach to the study of human behaviour - psychology. So, I guess you can call it 'soft' SF. You can also call it a dystopian novel, a horror novel or a thriller, but for me the best description is as an adult, x-rated version of "Lord of the Flies"

Now the new order had emerged, in which all l
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-uk
It’s been a while since I’ve entered the unsettling world of J G Ballard. A surreal world in which the thin veneer of ‘civilised’ life is tested again and again.
High Rise (1975) is a novel set in a tower block that reaches high into the sky. It explores some of the themes that will be developed further in future Ballard novels.
Ballard examines how the lives of professional, cultured people quickly unravel if placed in closed communities, free from the accepted moral framework of the outside wor
High-Rise: Lord of the Flies in an urban luxury high-rise
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
MOVIE UPDATE: I finally got around to watching the 2015 film version of High Rise, directly by Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Siena Miller, Luke Evans, and Elizabeth Moss. How to assess? Well, it is a valiant attempt to replicate Ballard's bizarre and surrealistic story of social elites battling the lower classes in a fancy new high-rise and willfully descending into barbarism
I realize that this book was written in 1976 - which can possibly explain some of the reasons why I take it to task. With that said...


We open on the balcony of one Robert Laing, who is noshing on a partially eaten dog and thinking with wonder about the events of the past months which have brought him to his current situation.

Not a bad way to begin a book. I'm down.

As the story unfolds, we are introduced to the High Rise - an ultra-modern luxury apartment building, 40 stories
4 and a half stars.

If you took "The Lord of the Flies" and "A Clockwork Orange" and threw them together in a blender, you would get a book that would be a lot like "High-Rise": creepy, over the top, disturbingly plausible in some ways, really infuriating in others. Basically, you'd get something weirdly fascinating, which will understandably not be everyone's cup of tea. I suppose I like my tea dystopian and gross, because I loved it!

I'm pretty sure that no one ever accused J.G. Ballard of being
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I haven't read much Ballard so I don't feel like I've read this book by him before. Apparently, this is a kind of common theme with him. Affluent people turning savage in the modern world.

Any book that promises rich people acting all Lord of the Flies on one another is going to catch my interest. And this one caught my attention and was pretty successful at holding it.

The book takes place in a 1960's/70's version of a state of the art high rise apartment complex. It's an almost totally self-co
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating social commentary set in a new and luxurious high-rise complex in London.

Petty conflicts between the different floors escalate alarmingly quickly to extreme levels.

We are following three main characters from each of the different classes/floors who represent their peers (grouped by job status). Each character does have his own personality and is not a complete slave to his class stereotype - the individual experiences are just as interesting as the the whole social picture.

The violen
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Alternative title: "THIS is why we can't have nice things"

Okay, having collected my thoughts, here are the points I think worth mentioning.

*I loved the book. Just fucking LOVED the book. As in, "I will read everything this author ever wrote" loved the book. My first impression was that this is Lord of the Flies for adults. I enjoyed this a lot more than I did Golding's book.

From here on out, the whole thing is pretty much one big spoiler. S
Apr 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, uk
I dont understand the hype with this book.
I didn't like it at all.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
A forty storey high-rise apartment building stands surrounded only by it's tenants' parking spaces and then, other soon to be completed forty storey high-rise apartment buildings.

All is well, initially, as the building fills up with tenants who only need to leave to go to work - the building itself has gyms, swimming pools, supermarkets, hairdressers, restaurants and other shops and services. Soon after the last apartment is occupied, however, things take a strange turn. Services such as elevato
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere.

High-Rise is both bleak and prescient, there's no doubt in that. What Ballard didn't anticipate was how one could make such distinctions, incorporate such new traits and attitudes, how such evolution could be made portable with an Apple W
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
High Rise is a horrific novel, published in 1975, about a building that begins to have a strange hold over its residents. The high rise is a virtual vertical city, with the higher levels representing higher social class status. The building has it’s own school, restaurants, pools, grocery store. The only reason for its’ residents to leave is to go to work. The residents begin to throw louder and wilder parties and begin leaving the building less and less often to go to work. Often if they do go, ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mapping-the-city
Good concept: to explore social disintegration as facilitated by - and contained within - a high rise building. The internal collapse of its occupants' morality, and grip on reality, is skilfully mapped within the structure.

But I had issues with the book: firstly, I was increasingly uncomfortable with the women in this text (vulnerable wives open to sexual assault, passive victims, evil witch-like figures, Freudian-destructive mothers - not a single woman written on an even level with the men),
Jeff Jackson
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-2
-Read this with a few friends. Interestingly, a fellow writer thought it was unspeakably awful, complaining about the "poor characterization," "unliterary language," and "unrealistic plot." Which reminds me of... Tom McCarthy on JG Ballard: "I think the guy was a genius. He was the only contemporary British writer that interested me or had any kind of influence on my work. The thing about Ballard is that he’s a great writer without being a good writer. I mean he’s not Nabokov or Updike. He doesn ...more
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Reading 1001: High Rise by J.G. Ballard 3 19 Sep 05, 2020 09:39AM  
Gruppo di lettura: Il Condominio -J.G. Ballard 7 17 Sep 24, 2018 11:00AM  
Sci-Fi Group Book...: High-Rise 11 14 Jun 06, 2018 02:06PM  
Play Book Tag: High Rise- JG Ballard 3 stars 1 18 Oct 21, 2017 05:23PM  

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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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