book review: Crash

I finished reading this Crash by J. G. Ballard a few weeks ago, but I was thinking about how I felt about the book.  The writing style is interesting – it has a dream-like quality to it, as if reading the story put me into a trance.  If you have seen the movie, the movie does a good job of capturing this quality.

However, I couldn’t empathize with any of the characters because I didn’t like any of them.  I also couldn’t relate to the subject matter of the book.  The characters in the book  have a sexual fascination with crashes.  The more gruesome the crash, the more it seems to turn them on.  There are slight variations of this between the characters – one is obsessed with movie stars crashing, one is interested in a guy who loves gruesome crashes.  I can see the metaphor.  By being in a crash and being damaged, you’re being transformed physically and you share a bond with other crash victims.  I still can’t relate to getting turned on by blood spurting out and dismembered people.  The subject matter is disturbing but the writing style was so different.  J. G. Ballard hits you on the head with shocking sexual perversion but he does it by taking you into a dream, which seem to be two opposites, but he somehow makes it work.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but I suppose that making readers think is one of the marks of a great writer.  All the same, I’m not in any hurry to read more J. G. Ballard books.


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