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Crash (1973)

by J. G. Ballard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: La Trilogie de béton (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,122723,223 (3.47)142
In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, "Crash" explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.… (more)
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English (66)  Spanish (2)  Romanian (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Much like the other Ballard texts I have read, I found Crash 'hyper-masculine' and too classically futurist in its disdain for women to enjoy. Ballard seems to me an 'ideas-writer' who creates very clever concepts which, for me personally, fail in execution.
  booms | Jan 24, 2021 |
"Even as I placed my penis in his rectum Vaughan had known he would try to kill me, in a final display of his casual love for me." Crash, page 172

That pretty much sums up Ballard’s attempt to, I don’t know, shock the world into realising how horrible we all are, maybe.

To be honest, having read it, I have no idea why anyone would want to write a novel like this, would want to put into other people’s minds images of animal sex and the results of the lack of attention to car safety in the 1970s.

Except to shock people into thinking humanity is a mess.

If so, the approach to take to the book is simple: if you know humanity is a mess and that not a single one of us contains an ounce of goodness unless by God’s saving grace through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, you don’t need to read it.

If you don’t believe that and still think people are somehow good at heart or all have the potential to be good if they try hard enough, read Crash until you decide otherwise.

At that point, you can stop reading.

If you get all the way through and think that a more accurate description of the human condition is portrayed by Little Women or anything by Jane Austen, then you are truly the lost soul that Ballard was writing about when he created the character Vaughan. ( )
  arukiyomi | Dec 27, 2020 |
What a book! Having read the blurb on the back side did not prepare me for this.
I don't understand it, I didn't like it one bit. How's one sexually aroused by car crashes? How (why) would you get married and then cheat on the person you're married to? Even watch?

This book is too explicit/detailed, but it felt like it was the sexual fantasy of a teenager who's mind revolves around only one thing.

One to cross off the list, never to think about again. I really am wondering why it was added to it in the first place... ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 6, 2020 |
Crash is an infamous literary novel by prolific novelist JG Ballard, centering on the lives of a group of people who’s experiences with accidents have fostered a deeply sexual paraphilia for car crashes. Both it and the movie adaptation were wildly controversial when they came out, eliciting scathing reviews and campaigns for banning and censorship. Despite this, it remains a fetish classic that depicts, in a very raw kind of way, a look into deviant sexuality, trauma, and the human condition.

Read the full review on my blog: https://rosesbooks.home.blog/2020/09/25/review-crash-by-jg-ballard/ ( )
  pixxiee | Sep 25, 2020 |
Before reading this book, I thought I was worldly, weary, and wise. I thought I had seen all the perversity and sex that modern novels could deliver. I thought I understood fetish.

I understood nothing.

This is a wild poem in novel format drawing out the most sexual visualizations. I could compare it with Anaïs Nin with her absolute poetry of sex, but to do so would ignore the absolute grotesquerie of Ballard's coupling with mangled machinery.

This is a novel of car crash survivors being unable to get off unless they remembered the "real" moment of utter release. Always chasing that high. Spying on car crashes, haunting crash test dummies, getting off in the seats of cars near the sites of your crash... or other's crashes. Of preparing the most lurid fantasies, drawing much more than solace from other victims, of fetishizing and tempting the ONE FINAL RELEASE.

This is death and violence and sex written in a nightmarish orgy of utter fixation... without most of the people actually, you know, taking it in a usual psychopathic thriller mode. This isn't about murdering your victims for that high. This is all about including our cars in on the very act that defines our lives. A third sexual partner.

And you know what? This novel RUINED ME for watching any kind of car-chase movie. If you find yourself wanting to swear off yet another Fast and Furious movie or an endless stream of Dukes of Hazard lookalikes, then look no further. This is your CURE. :) :) ( )
1 vote bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» 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
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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)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, "Crash" explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.

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