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Crash by J.G. Ballard

Crash (original 1973; edition 2004)

by J.G. Ballard

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2,516562,408 (3.45)106
Authors:J.G. Ballard
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, novel, british,

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Crash by J. G. Ballard (1973)


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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
This was a very graphic and violent dystopian novel but also very powerful. The writing is cold and detached but shows the genius of J. G. Ballard as he points out to us what technology has done to our emotions and humanity. This book is not for the faint of heart as it is a look at modern society in regards to death, dismemberment and sexual fantasy. I do recommend the book though and look forward to exploring more of Ballard's work. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Crash is story of the narrator's obsession with car crashes and sex. After being almost killed in a car crash he becomes sexually obsessed with cars and in particular car crashes. Pictures of car crash victims are like the best porn in the world for this narrator. In the 1001 reference book it says, "the first pornographic book dominated by twentieth-century technology."

What can I say about this book? It's disgusting and I pretty much hated every minute of it the reading process. I wish I could have appreciated elements that one other person in the 1001 group pointed out (the impact of modern day technology on human emotions and sexuality), but I was so disgusted throughout the whole thing that the only thing I could think about was finishing the book.

The writing style was interesting, at least for the few bits in between the graphic pornographic sections. In fact, if not for the writing style, I would have given it zero stars. The content was repulsive. Lots of vivid description of car crash scenes and a lot of detail of bodily fluids. I am pretty sure the most common word in the book was semen. I generally don't like very graphically sexual novels, but even those I can tolerate and don't make me want to vomit. It was the juxtaposition of graphic sex with violence and car crash imagery that I couldn't tolerate. I skimmed much of it and my husband kept asking me what was wrong b/c I apparently had a look of smelling poo the whole time I was reading it.
This was my first experience with Ballard's work and it makes me never want to pick up another one of his books.

Want a flavor of the book? Here's a relatively tame quote:

"This pool of vomit with its clots of blood like liquid rubies, as viscous and discreet as everything produced by Catherine, still contains for me the essence of the erotic delirium of the car-crash, more exciting than her own rectal and vaginal mucus, as refined as the excrement of a fairy queen, or the minuscule globes of liquid that formed beside the bubbles of her contact lenses."

The plus side, is that I can't wait to write a review of this for our blog (my co-blogger also hated it) along with a "10 things I hate as much as the novel Crash."
posted 1 minute ago. ( )
1 vote JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Crash J G Ballard

Firstly I will say if I had picked up the book and read the back cover in a bookstore or library I would have put it back down and walked slowly away its only the fact that it is a 1001 book and I am competitive that made me force myself through all 185 pages of this sick novel.

The book is basically about a man, Ballard, who is involved in a horrible car crash in which he kills another man, instead of reacting like a normal human being and finding himself repulsed with what has happened and fearful to drive he instead becomes obsessed with the sexual feeling aroused in him by the crash.

Ballard meets Vaughan another man obsessed by sex, car crashes and filming both from this point on the book is nearly all graphically and vulgarly described sex, crash injuries, sexual feelings aroused by crashes, and in depth descriptions of injuries especially those involving sexual organs.

All I can say is I wish that both Ballard and Vaughan had died in their first car crashes and saved me the bother of having to read and review this utter rubbish.

I worry about the publishers who published this and the people who decided it should be on the 1001 list, if that makes me old fashioned and unopen to new ideas then I am happy to live with those labels.

I would also add that if you are going to read a book by J G Ballard make it anything but this, personally I would highly recommend Empire of the Sun.
( )
1 vote BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
“Two months before my accident, during a journey to Paris, I had become so excited by the conjunction of an air hostess's fawn gaberdine skirt on the escalator in front of me and the distant fuselages of the aircraft, each inclined like a silver penis towards her natal cleft, that I had involuntarily touched her left buttock.”Say whaaat??!! Honestly, what the hell is this book I just read? What was the author smoking when he was writing it? (And where can I get some?). I have to say this is one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and also one of the most boring. If that makes no sense then I have just summed up the book from my perspective.

According to Wikipedia Crash is about “symphorophilia”, basically getting turned on by watching disasters like fire and traffic accidents. More specifically the characters in this book find car accidents "hot". Yes, this is a thing! (at least in the context of this novel). This is almost sufficient to synopsize the whole book as there is very little in the way of plot to speak of.

Considering the “erotic” nature of the story, the narrative tone is oddly detached and clinical. Something I notice with J.G. Ballard’s writing style while reading The Drowned World. None of the characters seem to feel any strong emotion (unless “sudden boner” counts as an emotion). I suspect it is not Ballard’s intention that the readers should identify with his characters (at least I hope not). That is all very well but it makes it very hard to be invested in the narrative and reading the book is something of a slog in spite of the interesting ideas. According to some of the erudite professional reviews I have read the main theme of Crash is “Modern Technology in Human Relationships” and here I thought it was just about people shagging in damaged cars.

The characters are all unsavory deviants, the first-person narrative is by “James Ballard”. What the hell? Well, apparently it is to blur the line between fiction and reality. If you say so Mr. B (start backing away slowly). The central character is actually not Ballard but Dr. Robert Vaughan who spends the whole book walking around with semen stains on his trousers. For all his numerous scars and lack of hygiene he is apparently very sexy, a man the happily married Mr. Ballard would definitely go gay for. Anyone looking for a bit of titillation better look elsewhere as the sex scenes often involve orifices which are… oh never mind!

Should you read this book? I have no idea, I am off to take a bath and have a lie-down. ( )
1 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
terrible (0), it truly was terrible but I will give it 1 star as I think the author is a good writer, I wish this hadn’t been the first book I read by him.

REVIEW: To say I don't get it, really sums up my experience reading this...... Here is an example I don't get. "By terrifying paradox, a sexual act between us would be a way of taking her revenge", this is said about the wife of the man that he killed in an auto accident. And what is the sci fi part of this book. It is the excessive references to cars, roads, airplanes...to technology. It's excessive and oppressive. It makes it feel like an alien force. Here's another quote, "the day I left Ashford I had the extraordinary feeling that all these cars were gathering for some special reason I didn't understand."

This is a story of a dystopian world where man no longer has feelings or connections to people and is oppressed by technology. The characters in this book are not likable. They are consumed by sex. The scape of roads and freeways, airports and car parks and the various parts of the inside and outside of cars is what turns them on. The author called this a work of pornography and he was not kidding. The pages are filled with sexual references to parts of cars, sex parts such as penises and breasts, vaginas, urethras and body secretions such as sperm, mucus, blood, vomit. You really feel quite awful after reading this book. This is not gratuitous sex, this is icky sex. I could recommend this book to no one.

“The crash was the only real experience I’d been through”
"For a half an hour I sat by the window in her office, looking down at the hundreds of cars in the parking lot. Their roofs formed a lake of metal."
"Overhead, across the metallized air, a jet-liner screamed."
“The marriage of sex and technology reached its climax as the traffic divided at the airport overpass and we began to move forwards in the northbound lane.”

Flyovers, British word for American overpass. ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 6, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. G. Ballardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312420331, Paperback)

J. G. Ballard's graphic, violent novel is controversial wherever it is read, even on Amazon.com's own Web page! The book's characters are obsessed with automobile accidents and are determined to narrate the horrors of the car crash as luridly as possible. In the words of the novel's protagonist, the wounds caused by automobile collisions are "the keys to a new sexuality born from a perverse technology." Read this novel and learn why David Cronenberg, who had previously adapted Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch for the screen, fought to turn it into his latest film.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:11 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The definitive cult, post-modern novel - a shocking blend of violence, transgression and eroticism.

(summary from another edition)

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