Mark Desrosiers's Reviews > Concrete Island

Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard
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's review
Jun 20, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, apocalypse-then
Read in June, 2010

The premise of this one is well-known: a wealthy businessman careens his car into a triangular wasteland between highways, and ends up a Crusoe-style castaway there. At first I figured this would be a carefully constructed modern parable, echoing noisily with depths of symbolism and apocalyptic meaning. But it becomes very clear that Ballard just came up with a groovy premise, added some horrible injuries, a trunk full of white Burgundy, a hippie prostitute, and some sort of hulking Tor Johnson creature, then let the plot ride out to its slightly predictable counterculture ending.

Also, here's where I notice how relentlessly humorless Ballard could be -- not a trace of wit or hilarity to be found in a plot begging for cruel, comical interludes. I suspect this one is not going to stand the test of time, though it is a breezy, burgundy-soaked read if you're into that sort of thing.
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