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Cocaine nights

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  3,980 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
Da una parte c’è Bobby Crawford, un tennista che è il vero animatore di un club nautico, in una località spagnola sulla Costa del Sol frequentata soprattutto da inglesi benestanti di mezza età: un luogo apparentemente tranquillo dove però le giornate, tra partite di tennis, spettacoli teatrali, festini, consumo di droghe, film porno e atti vandalici, non paiono scorrere tr ...more
Paperback, Universale Economica, #2015, 296 pages
Published February 2008 by Feltrinelli (first published 1996)
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Vanessa Wu
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out with tremendous promise. That sounds more patronising than I would like. It blew my mind. Is that better? I couldn't believe I had avoided this author for so long. If you are an avid reader, not reading J.G. Ballard is like depriving yourself of air. Each sentence glitters with intelligence. The rhythm, the poise, the vocabulary, the imagery are all perfect. He has a fine sense of character and there is passion beneath his hard, cynical edge.

But as the book goes along it d
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After enjoying High Rise so much, we went on a bit of a spending spree and bought several Ballard novels to follow it up. In part because it was recently the work book club choice (although I'm not actually a member) Cocaine Nights was the first one out of the pile. As with High Rise this is the tale of something we think we know, British ex-pats moving to Spain, but somehow corrupted beyond our expectations by some trigger event. With High Rise it was the loss of power; with Cocaine Nights ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
All My Ideas Run to Crime

I've always enjoyed J G Ballard's novels in the past, but this one lost me about three quarters of the way through.

Ballard was prescient about the world of the future in his fiction. However, once the premise of this novel resolved into how the expatriate British, French, Swiss and German residents of gated communities on the idyllic Mediterranean coast of Spain turned to crime (hard drugs, both taking and dealing, prostitution and pornography) to overcome their leisure-
Ana  Vlădescu
Before reading this, I read a lot of reviews about it and most of them said that yes, it starts well and the pace picks up a bit, but then, some 80 pages in, it starts to lose it. Like the author just ran out of fuel and decided to take the flight without it.

They were *sorta* right. Its beginning is really nice and you get the feeling that this is going to be such an amazing story and wow-how-much-fun-you're-gonna-get.. but then there's no enthusiasm anymore. It's just.. gone.

This Estrella De
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will be the first of three reviews that center around a world that has lost its moral and ethical compass. I didn't plan this as a reading theme, but it came up! Of the three, this is probably the most realistic (not hard when the other two are G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, and C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength,) and also the most pessimistic. This is likely because the other two authors are deeply Christian, and so have a solution for the world's woes. Ballard, writing far mo ...more
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1974-2002
Okay, let's look at this: Marc Bolan recorded "Dandy In the Underworld" which had lyrics which referred to 'cocaine nights'...then died in a car crash because his usual Rolls was loaned out to Hawkwind, an offshoot band project of sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, who was friendish with J.G. Ballard who wrote a book - three years earlier - about car crashes and then, you know, this book twenty years later.

Guy Portman
A house fire in the upmarket British expat enclave of Estrella de Mar on the Costa del Sol results in five deaths. Frank Prentice, the manager of the popular Club Nautico, pleads guilty and is charged with murder, but no one believes he committed the crime, not even the police. Frank’s brother Charles travels from the U.K. to investigate the crime and find the culprit.

Charles discovers that Bobby Crawford, Estrella de Mar’s amoral and charismatic head tennis coach, is the orchestrator of a soci
Maxime Daher
Mar 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My worst enemies
The sheer existence of such a publication proves that 1) If there is a God, She is a cruel sadist who makes readers pick up books with funky titles on the weight of the sheer hype of the author and that the book had been actually shortlisted for numerous prizes, before bludgeoning them (the reader) with the most ridiculous plots, the most cliché phrases, the most flat and/or plagiarized characters, and the worst command of the English language coupled with scaling-walls-with-fingernails-awful wr ...more
Josh Friedlander
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pomo
Definitely feel the need to justify this rating, and my disappointment with Ballard (who feels like a "writers' writer") in general. Got pretty far into a review using John Updike's nexus of critique, but then the internet happened, and GR decided to erase it all. I'll try and replace the loss soonish.


Firstly, I'm planning to read The Drowned World, and I listened to My Dream of Flying to Wake Island on The Guardian's fiction podcast, but beyond that this novel is my first foray into Ball
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What is it with ageing male writers and 'disturbing' dystopian visions of the fate of humanity? Along with McCarthy's "The Road" or Houellebecq's "Atomised", Ballard spends the whole novel beating us about the head with another tired, gloomy, and inevitably terminal prognosis for the world.

Cocaine Nights, sadly, lacks the poetic prose of "The Road" or the more robust intellectualism of Houellebecq. It revolves around one central premise. We're all heading towards a future of unlimited leisure, a
Lou Robinson
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Another J G Ballard that I have really enjoyed. I think it's because although his stories have a fantastical element to that you can't REALLY see how things would turn out as they do in his books...they are at the same time very believable. Cocaine Nights is almost more believable than the other Ballard novels I've read, I had no problem picturing the endless Spanish resorts filled with British expat retirees and the complex characters that he has created.
A star down, as the ending un
Jan 22, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect book, I suppose, has three things going for it: (1) great, realistic characters, who are transformed in believable, often desirable ways, (2) an interesting and perhaps unpredictable plot that holds our attention, not to mention holds water in whatever stream of reality the story finds itself, and (3) eloquent writing.

And then we have Cocaine Nights by J.G. Ballard, author of Crash and Empire of the Sun.

“Crossing frontiers is my profession,” Charles Prentice states at the book’s ope
Katie Grainger
J G Ballard likes to focus on small communities and how they function, this theme can be seen in a number of the books he writes. In Cocaine Nights the focus falls on a small Spanish resort in which an awful crime has taken place.

Five deaths have taken place in a horrific house fire and Frank Prentice has confessed to the crime. When his brother arrived Charles arrives at Estrella De Mar determined to discover who started the fire. However the longer Charles stays at Estrella De Mar the more he
Stephen Curran
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly the most conventionally structured Ballard novel I have read, but even within the confines of a murder mystery plot, the author's usual preoccupations burst forth: liberation in transgression, liberation in flight, drained swimming pools, psychiatrists, the dangers of boredom. He is one of those rare writers who, while you are reading his works, alters the way you perceive the world. Everything becomes a stage set, ready to be torn down.

I wonder what I would have made of Cocaine Nights
Mike Keirsbilck
It requires a serieus suspension of disbelief, but when you get passed that it's actually a pretty interesting brain exercise.
Chris Meigh
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
A book so Ballardian that it almost falls into its own category. Charles Prentice arrives in Spain to see his brother, Frank, who has been arrested following a fire in the exclusive resort of Estrella de Mar. Upon Charles’ arrival he becomes submerged in a world of drugs, violence and perverse sex that swallows him and transforms him into the very thing that he set out to destroy.

Cocaine Nights is the very definition of Ballardian fiction in which crime, sex and drugs are all amalgamated togeth
Jacquelynn Luben
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maria Borland
I wanted to like this book far more than I did. As with 'Crash', Ballard confronts the excesses of contemporary society with unflinching conviction and a knack for nauseating medical details. The story rests on the intelligent conceit of an expat mediterranean society that utilizes crime as a means to wake itself up from valium induced stupor. Instigated by an evergreen ex tennis pro who envisions a world where people are forced to connect with their surroundings in a manner that involves both c ...more
Bob Hartley
This book's very British, in a more serious Tom Sharpe kind of way, almost. I thought before reading it that it would be about hedonism, and while hedonism is a theme, it turned out to be a whodunnit of sorts. I don't mind, because, like how a teenage girl has nothing to wear, I had nothing to read.

The writing is a bit odd, a mélange of international English variants, which baffled me with its juxtapositions at first, but made sense when I realised the narrator is a travel writer. He's full of q
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cocaine Nights" belongs to the genre of crime fiction, instead of Sci-fi, as I would have guessed by the author. In spite of this fact the atmosphere it is built around is similar to the one in Ballard's science fiction books (although I must admit I am no expert on him, having read so far "The drowned world" and "High-Rise"- the latter being of my favourite books). The story is taking place in the worm lieu of a high-class resort for retired central-Europeans at the equator and it involves pas ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time reading Ballard. I've heard of him before, and often in the context of Burroughs work. So after the Burroughs biography i thought i'd give him a go. It was well worth it. Although the story itself, is lacking something, i don't know what. Nevertheless the ideas he's playing with here are fantastic stuff. Particularly liked his romanticism of Crime, Its definitely something that he shares with Burroughs, as well as Genet (another Burroughs favourite)but played out here in a distinct fa ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Il crimine ha una precisa missione sociale: in questa visione ballardiana, chi è violento di natura diventa santo per acclamazione.

Non solo una visione, dunque, ma una previsione.

Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: inglesi
"E' il sangue il prezzo dei vostri festival d'arte e del vostro orgoglio civico."

Cocaine nights è, se la numerazione non m'inganna, il quart'ultimo romanzo di Ballard, è soprattutto caratteristico dell'ultima fase dello scrittore, ossessionata dall'indagine della violenza umana, dispiegata nella forma di uno svago senza inibizioni, o di una rivolta della media borghesia, fino al terrorismo urbano. Questo romanzo, a ben vedere, riprende la tematica lanciata dal più celebre Condominium, depurandol
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001
I didn't know what to expect from a book titled "Cocaine Nights", so I was surprised when I really, really liked it. Charles' brother, Frank, has been accused of multiple murders in a tiny resort town in Spain and has pleaded guilty. Charles travels to the town to investigate what happened for himself, knowing his brother could not have harmed anyone, let alone killed several people. Estrella de Mar is a thriving, exciting town with an interesting cast of characters. Charles falls into the charm ...more
Raro de Concurso
Este parece ser el año de Ballard:

A la exposición homenaje montada en el Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona («J. G. Ballard: Autopsia del nuevo milenio» y con comisario a Jordi Costa) y a los planes del director canadiense Vincenzo Natali de llevar «Rascacielos» a la gran pantalla, se han sumado ahora la publicación de «Bienvenidos a Metro-Centre» -su nueva y tal vez última novela-; la edición de los cuentos reunidos en «Fiebre de guerra» -algunos de los cuales no habían sido traducido
Sam Woodfield
This is a really timeless novel which, although written in the 1990's could take place in any modernt seaside resort. Ballard has really touched upon a subject which I felt represented pockets of modern society to a tee.

Ballards first person narrative really draws you into the world of the Costa Del Sol resorts which feature at the heart of this novel, and the 'psychological experiment' taking place there. The concept of crime inducing activity and community in a sleepy little retirement town is
David Corvine
I was expecting a dystopian vision with surrealist shifts as in High-Rise but it turned out to be a crime thriller. Initially I supposed that Mr. Ballard was using this genre as a cover story in order to present another reality... if this was the case then the camoflage is very effective. The sociological premise that we will all be living in an leisure society and experiencing increasingly extended retirements, although a valid supposition at the time of writing, now seems to be whimsical wishf ...more
J.L. Flores
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este año volví a leerla y se aparecieron frente a mi otras cosas. Primero me reí mucho más, a pesar de lo tremendo del tema. La gran burla al sistema de privilegios y ostracismo que se imponen los ricos a sí mismo, su miedo al crimen y la delincuencia, pero sobre todo miedo a la humanidad sucia y libre. Es necesario revisar Super Cannes también, pues son novelas espejo.
Maria Beltrami
Un altro esempio della sociologia estrema di Ballard, che indaga la vita dei villaggi fortificati che paiono dover diventare i luoghi di vita per ricchi ed annoiati del futuro. Come sempre personaggi scolpiti e tormentati e una umanità che da il peggio di sé.
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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
More about J.G. Ballard...
“Put a higher value on yourself. Being hyper-realistic about everything is too simple a get-out.” 23 likes
“Religions emerged too early in human evolution — they set up symbols that people took literally, and they're as dead as a line of totem poles. Religions should have come later, when the human race begins to near its end. Sadly, crime is the only spur that rouses us. We're fascinated by that "other world" where everything is possible.” 3 likes
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