Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Crash by J.G. Ballard

Crash (original 1973; edition 2004)

by J.G. Ballard

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,641642,264 (3.46)112
Authors:J.G. Ballard
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, novel, british,

Work details

Crash by J.G. Ballard (1973)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 112 mentions

English (60)  Spanish (2)  Romanian (1)  Italian (1)  All (64)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Bleak and challenging to read. The mixture of violence of the collision of technology and sex was very confronting for me. ( )
  kale.dyer | Jun 9, 2017 |
This is where the Goodreads rating system lets me down. I didn't "like" Crash at all. I'd give it one star if that was the only criterion. On the other hand, I thought it was pretty brilliant, albeit dark and perverse. The novel centers on a group of car-crash victims who begin to take sexual pleasure from staging and experience further auto accidents. It was written in 1973 and is an interesting exploration of how machines have changed humans' relationship to each other and their own desires. As shocking as the book is, there was something about it that struck me as quaint forty years later. A car, after all, is still a material thing, so much more like a body than, say, the internet. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Porn with pretensions. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Nov 27, 2016 |
I'm not rating this. Supposed to be "a classic work of cutting edge fiction". What I found was a bizzarely pornographic and disturbing work about a guy who gets off on auto accidents. I'd rather read Pahlaniuk any day.
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
J.G. Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash puts me in mind of the great poet of our time, R. Kelly, and his perspective-shifting masterpiece, Ignition, if Ignition dared to reach its erotic-subversive logical conclusion. For Ballard, the techno-eroticism of the automobile necessarily finds its end in an epic and annihilating collision, the most Kelly is willing to risk is a ticket and his shocks.

For reference, the truncated lyrics:
“Girl, please let me stick my key in your ignition, babe
So I can get this thing started and get rollin', babe
See, I'll be doin' about 80 on your freeway
Girl, I won't stop until I drive you crazy

So buckle up 'cause this can get bumpy, babe
Now hit the lights and check out all my functions, babe
Girl, back that thing up so I can wax it, baby
Honey, we gon' mess around and get a ticket, babe

Now hold on tight 'cause I'm about to go faster, babe
Girl, you're dealin' with a pro behind this wheel, babe
So tell me have you ever driven a stick, babe
You'll be screamin' every time we shiftin' gears, babe

So brace yourself while I'm hittin' them corners, babe
And when it's over put that tails on your license plate...”

Like R. Kelly’s song, the characters in Crash are at one moment operators of the car, in the next moment one with the car itself: e.g.. “let me stick my key in your ignition babe” suggests (obviously) that R. Kelly is decidedly not the vehicle, but the mechanism by which the vehicle’s (woman’s) engines are set running. In the next stanza his car-amour acts as the driver, exploring the dashboard body of R. Kelly. Later, Kelly is again the “pro behind the wheel”-- once more at the driver’s helm--confusingly asking the car-amour if she has ever driven a stick shift, which begs lots of metaphysical questions.

Kelly’s muddied metaphors aside, the familiar technology of the car coupled with the erotic encounter--the inherent danger of both--especially when combined--is just the kind of risky fantasy the modern world has made possible. But J.G. Ballard is no R. Kelly. Where R. Kelly plays exclusively with innuendo, Ballard minces no words:

[ahem] “As I pressed the head of my penis against the neck of her uterus, in which I could feel a dead machine, her cap, I looked at the cabin around me. This small space was crowded with angular control surfaces and rounded sections of human bodies interacting in unfamiliar junctions...The volumes of Helen’s thighs pressing against my hips, her left fist buried in my shoulder, her mouth grasping at my own, the shape and moisture of her anus as I stroked it with my ring finger, were each overlaid by the inventories of a benevolent technology--the moulded binnacle of the instrument dials, the jutting carapace of the steering column shroud, the extravagant pistol grip of the hand-brake...The passenger compartment enclosed us like a machine generating from our sexual act an homunculus of blood, semen and engine coolant…”

Ballard’s Crash explores the tipping point where the fantasy ceases to be satisfied by mere risk, and requires the crash of metal bodies to satisfy the sexual proclivities of human ones. Psychoanalysis has a name for this, of which the author was surely aware: the Death Drive. ( )
1 vote reganrule | Oct 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J.G. Ballardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.
The marriage of reason and nightmare that has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. (Introduction)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
10 avail.
150 wanted
1 free

Popular covers


Average: (3.46)
0.5 6
1 47
1.5 5
2 57
2.5 18
3 122
3.5 39
4 167
4.5 20
5 121

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,312,794 books! | Top bar: Always visible