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Rushing to Paradise

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  603 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
This dark and compelling satire, from the author of Empire of the Sun, exposes the dangerous evils of extremism of all kinds.
Paperback, 239 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Flamingo (first published June 1994)
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Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
In 1995 France decided it would be a good idea to renew nuclear testing, and set off several bombs in the South Pacific. ‘Rushing to Paradise’ is J.G Ballard’s reaction. But this being Ballard, this is no simple anti-nuclear tract, or even environmental tale. In fact this is one of the trickiest, most inventive and impossible to predict books I’ve read in a long awhile.

Neil, a British adolescent, hooks up with Dr Barbara – a struck off and clearly disturbed doctor, with a passionate interest in
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the many commentaries on and interpretations of JG Ballard's novels and short stories, this, by the man himself, is the remark which stays with me:

‘One of the things I took from my wartime experiences was that reality was a stage set … the comfortable day-to-day life, school, the home where one lives and all the rest of it … could be dismantled overnight.’

Thus the sudden stripping away within his narratives of social norms and 'civilised' behaviour occasioned by a single change in the fab
Rabbia. Ecco, in questa parola la sintesi di tutto ciò che ho provato, pagina dopo pagina, leggendo questo libro. Mi sono trovata a litigare con i protagonisti, insultandoli ferocemente. Li ho sinceramente detestati... Ma come si fa?, mi chiedevo, a tollerare una demente sociopatica affatto attraente, a livello di personalità, intendo, e a subire tutto lo schifo con cui ti sommerge? Ma come si fa, non a crederle, ma solo a pensare di poterla prendere sul serio? Ma dategli quattro calci nei denti ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Ballard’s portrayal of women, they’re always passionate, strong and deranged (sometimes slightly, sometimes you even stop reading in disgust). Dr Barbara of Rushing to Paradise is downright crazy but she has some good points, not on environmental problems but feminism. So does Ballard, although people find him sexist and antifeminist I, as a feminist agree with him on quite a few things. Actually his is an observation rather than an idea and Rushing to Paradise is a good representation of ...more
Frazer Lee
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ballard has fun smashing the patriarchy via the bloodied albatross carcass of our environmental hypocrisies, all captured through the cracked lens of the male gaze. Or does he? A Murder Balla(r)d for the end of the twentieth century, and the uncertain dawn of the twenty first.
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
In order to review this novel I must quote my last one, Flaubert's Parrot, in which the writer attempts to make some rules for publishing:

"There shall be no more novels in which a group of people, isolated by circumstances, revert to the 'natural condition' of man, become essential, poor, bare, forked creatures. All that may be written is one short story, the final one of the genre, the cork in the bottle. I'll write it for you. A group of travellers are shipwrecked, or airwrecked, somewhere, no
Oct 27, 2010 rated it liked it
It only gets three stars because i could foresee having interesting conversations with people about why they do or dont like it. All the characters got on my nerves and I don't think they were written in a way that explained their actions enough for it to be any kind of allegory or completely true comment on environmentalism or feminism. Just leave the damn island! If there was the inclination to stay despite how difficult it was, I don't think the book conveyed what that motivation was very wel ...more
Apr 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: post-apocalyptic, Lord of the Flies fans, fans of Alex Garland's The Beach
J. G. Ballard is his own beast. At least, I think so right now. I've only read The Day of Creation and Rushing to Paradise. The tone is unlike any other author I've read, yet. It's detached and cold but dreamlike at the same time. His take on a small group of people living on a remote island is comedic, depraved, and disturbing. It forms part of a tradition: Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, and following Ballard's entry, The Beach. Does society devolve into power and violence when sealed in ...more
Heather Browning
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Very typical Ballard, with the same strengths and weaknesses. I find the books well-written and intellectually intriguing. He creates complex flawed characters and explores varied dystopic worlds. But I feel like I can never quite connect to the stories, they are dry and emotionless and I need the emotional connection to feel really compelled. In this book, we move through the darker side of ecological activism through to isolation and extreme feminism, up to psychosis. It's hard to connect or r ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agghiacciante, un ritmo ipnotico per una storia terribile.
Personaggi ben più che credibili
Angus McKeogh
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply brilliant! Nothing is what it seems and then everything turns again. Includes it all. Infanticide, underage sex, serial murder, tribalism. Controversial, gripping and a great read.
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1994
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
stranamente questo "il paradiso del diavolo" mi era sfuggito per molto tempo, e l'averlo trovato da un remainder per pochi euri è stata una piacevole sorpresa.
uscito nel 1994, il libro si trova in una posizione particolare rispetto alla produzione dell'autore: ballard è ormai anni luce dalla fantascienza vera e propria e sta per iniziare quel ciclo che verrà inaugurato con "cocaine nights", di cui a mio parere qui cominciano a mostrarsi alcuni aspetti.
è come se ballard sentisse arrivare da un la
David Manns
Rushing to Paradise sees Ballard return to the kind of ecological psycho-novel of his early career (The Drowned World, The Crystal World) but this is of a much darker tone. A disgraced British doctor, Barbara Rafferty, turned eco-warrior recruits a motley band (Neil, a teenager infatuated with dreams of nuclear testing; Kimo, an Hawaiian ex-policeman; David Carline, an American businessman) to “save the albatross” on the atoll island of Saint-Esprit in the Pacific, as the French prepare to resum ...more
Todd Martin
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Rushing to Paradise is a dreadfully silly bit of claptrap by English novelist J.G. Ballard. The plot involves a group of environmentalists who take over a small Pacific Island destined for nuclear weapons testing and turn it into a sanctuary for endangered species (the albatross in particular). Except, rather than a green utopia the island and its inhabitants devolve into a Lord of the Flies like free for all.

GoodReads describes the book as a “searing send-up of environmentalism, feminism, and
Chris Meigh
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rushing to Paradise blends all of Ballard's usual qualities in a frenzy of gender politics and sexual violence. Set on the Pacific Island of Saint Esprit, Rushing to Paradise follows Dr Barbara, a disgraced doctor who has visions of saving the endangered albatross on the island from the menace of French nuclear testing. What starts of as a quest to provide sanctuary to endangered animals quickly spirals into an orgy of sex, murder and philosophy.

Despite not being one of Ballard's most popular o
Tommy Carlson
I just read a book in reverse. Why? Well, let me tell you.

When I was just a wee lad. Well, okay, not wee, but still a lad in high school, I read 2010: Odyssey Two. I opened the book up somewhere in the middle and randomly ended up at the part where they land on Europa. I read the page, then decided I really wanted to see what came before, so I read the previous page. And so on, until I eventually worked my way all the way to the beginning. Then I went back to where I started and finished off the
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is one of my favorite novels by Ballard and is probably the best one I have read so far. Taking note that I only read three of his novels and he is my favorite author for I read many of his short stories and essays online, it is a feat to be noted for that. This novel even talks about two major views in this world today being feminism and environmentalism and how they can be dangerous as well as helpful.

Before continuing with this novel, the best I can say is ""Lord of the Flies"" with adu
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ballard has nailed it again; I've read many of his books and I thought this one would be a stinker, but somehow it's another masterpiece. I'd give it 4.5 stars if possible, but I guess I'll settle for 4.
The book does the old bait-and-switch. It starts off as some lame narrative about environmentalists going to an island to try to protect some endangered albatross. Really boring stuff. But then the shit hits the fan.
It has a lot of cool elements. It has that Robinson Crusoe survival hermit island
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well I didn't find in a "hllariously cold-blooded satire" as the book jacket suggested I would. Not particuularly humorous, and it never delves deep enough into its subjects to be an effective satire. While billed as a book blasting feminism and environmentalism, it seemed to have a lot more to say about cults (especially personality cults), group think, and perhaps about the coercive use of power than about its stated subjects. Perhaps it is beacuse the particular shades of environmentalism and ...more
Jason Sheets
Mar 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the least enjoyable book I have read in quite some time, and it is truly disappointing because I have pretty much loved everything else I have read by Ballard. This novel felt very non-Ballardian from page one, and the only reason I kept reading was because I was waiting/hoping for that moment when, with the turn of a page, the story changes from so-so to terrific. It never happened.

According to the back cover, this novel is meant to be a satire of environmentalism and feminism.
Jul 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My second JG Ballard book, and sorry to say another dud, though this time round I managed to force myself to finish this rather short (thankfully) novel. Again, I was drawn to the exotic setting, interesting premise (society on a deserted tropical island with conservation thrown in!) and critical acclaim of the author. While the plot had a good twist, it felt like it could have been kept a short story instead of being drawn out into a full length novel, as the interesting events that happen are ...more
"Il più grande problema che ha di fronte il mondo non è che ci sono troppo poche balene, o troppo pochi panda, è che ci sono troppi uomini".

Un'iniziativa ambientalista-animalista, una spedizione a salvaguardia di un atollo nel Pacifico, terreno di prove nucleari francesi, si trasforma nell'esperimento sociale di una utopia femminista selvatica. Attorno a questo intreccio, Ballard imbastisce il suo solito romanzo a tesi, questa volta distinguendosi per l'arguzia delle sue osservazioni e delle sue
Cathy (cathepsut)
Teenager Neil gets enchanted with animal rights campaigner Dr. Barbara. He follows her to the island St. Esprit, where the French plan to start nuclear testing, threatening a large colony of albatross nesting there. Dr. Barbara's plans are successful and very soon she turns the island into a sanctuary for all endangered wild life. Others join her and the community grows.

Neil tells the story. Eventually you start wondering, who the endangered species is on that island. On the back flap the book i
Charles Dee Mitchell
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
Ballard sets this one up like a comic novel, with eccentric characters gathering for what promises to be a fool's errand to save the albatross endangered by the new threat of French nuclear testing. You could almost imagine the Tom Sharp's take on this material, but of course Ballard heads into much darker territory. The apocalyptic worlds he creates in The Drought and The Crystal World are in many ways more coherent and believable than the society he places on Isle Saint Esprit, but realism is ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first third is hilarious in its absurdist timing. The second third is dull, draggy, and too languid to stay as engaged as the first. The final third is morbidly horrific and a different sort of absurd...less funny (though it has its humour) and more of an existential horror story. The final third also plays with time, jumping ahead and making matter-of-fact reveals about some characters' fates. It's bizarre and likely will revolt some readers with its content. But, the Dr. Barbara character ...more
Hrafn H.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Good Ballard, critical if not cynical of environmentalism and feminism. Completely off the mark to describe his message as misogynistic, misanthropist is more accurate.

This stuff matters. It's basic message is Lord of the Flies like - civilisation is a sham and there isn't even a noble savage.

In his more widely read novels Ballard's defining characteristic is atmospheric descriptions of architechture and the modern condition. In this novel - which more or less takes place in a Pacific Island par
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it
A boy, and others, who are under the spell of an exuberant female environmentalist sail to an island to save it from the French who are killing the albatross.

While that is the premise of the book it is really about the power that a person (Dr. Barbra, the crazy feminist, in this instance) has over people.

A little bit like Lord of the Flies mixed with Jim Jones' leadership skills.

Disturbing? Yes.

Would I recommend it? If you like dystopian literature. I thought High Rise by J.G. Ballard was bette
James Burton
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fantastically dark ending. Ballard writes in his usual impassive and detached style about a young boy who falls under the spell of a domineering and peculiarly strong personality. A group of misfits, with nothing in common, bar the subordination to this one personality are brought together on a tropical island. The camp soon turns into a personality led cult. Why do people follow, why don't they just leave, even when the truth outs? Brilliant.
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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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“Perhaps the future belongs to magic, and it's we women who control magic.” 1171 likes
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