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High-Rise by J. G. Ballard

High-Rise (1975)

by J. G. Ballard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,334415,813 (3.78)68
  1. 50
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (bertilak)
    bertilak: Two books about 'civilized' people becoming tribal and violent. However, Ballard is a disinterested diagnostician and Golding is a moralist.
  2. 00
    HERE [away from it all] by Polly Hope (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  3. 00
    Blindness by José Saramago (bertilak)
  4. 00
    Life at the Bottom : The Worldview that Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple (bertilak)

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» See also 68 mentions

English (38)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Like many of JG Ballard's books this takes a group of people and watches the usual social norms between them break down. In this case set in a tower block. It's obviously a bit over the top and all escalates very quickly (literally the first sentence is a man on a balcony eating a dog), but has some great insights into human nature. It's pretty dark and violent and unpleasant, but also quite funny. When we discussed this at my book group we met at the Barbican and had a lot of fun discussing the parallels between the developments. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 9, 2016 |
I know it's a book from 1975 but it's still like someone asked Bret Easton Ellis to write his version of the Lord of the Flies. Of course it's not a realist book, anyone can say thousands of things why it couldn't happen like that, but it doesn't matter. This is a great story about the isolation of a micro society and its sinking back to the Stone Age level, a great parabola about how fragile a society and the human psyche can be. A must! ( )
  TheCrow2 | Sep 17, 2016 |
Time seems to have taken its toll here. When this was written, high rise blocks had not yet fallen from grace as the new style in urban living. Within a short time they became a form of sentence for the poorer classes. A few years down the line and Ballard seemed to be a great prophet wit the state of the average block resembling what was left here. But the residents weren't the yuppies of the book but the hopelessly unemployable for whom prison wasn't really worse. High class apartment blocks didn't go that way and now, with the rearrangement of management fees and such, you couldn't seal a block like this.
On the other hand, thus still stands as the urban adult answer to "Lord of the flies". The absurdist touches of the business executive that comes home to the comfort of a stone age cave with all that comes with it have some echoes in a recent spate of reality shows and do say something about Ballard's sense of humour.
Not as important as it once was but still meaningful.
1 vote WAMccabe | Aug 30, 2016 |
A fable, and a fairly heavy-handed one at that. Deeply rooted in views on psychology and society of the 70s, so it hasn't aged all that well. Still a very interesting read, even if it does not quite live up to its reputation. ( )
  CharlesFerdinand | Aug 28, 2016 |
High Rise is a horrific novel about a building that begins to have a strange hold over its residents. The high rise is a virtual vertical city, with the higher levels representing higher social class status. The building has it’s own school, restaurants, pools, grocery store. The only reason for its’ residents to leave is to go to work. The residents begin to throw louder and wilder parties and begin leaving the building less and less often to go to work. Often if they do go, they rest at work for a few hours and then return to the high rise, or they may get to their car and then turn right around and go back to the high rise. The parties turn to violence, vandalism, voyeurism, raiding, raping, murder and cannibalism with the ultimate goal being survival of the fittest. The characters become either checked out or fully engrossed in the “game” they are playing. Although there is some hope they will get caught, no one ever bothers to call the police or seek outside help. The men and women revert to hunter/gatherer roles. The women seem banded together by the end and it appears the women have come out on top, however, no one really is a winner in this book. Reading this novel from 1975 did not feel much like I had jumped back in time with the exception of the polaroid cameras and lack of cell phones/social media. This novel was many things at once: a horror story, a dystopian science fiction story, and most impressively a chilling social commentary. It is a commentary on the psychological effects of modernization and technological advancement. This advancement leads to an increasingly fragmented and socially insular society that yearns for more connectedness even if that connectedness is horrific. The writing was excellent and I look forward to watching the movie.

For discussion questions, please see www.book-chatter.com ( )
  marieatbookchatter | Aug 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
The first sentence of J. G. Ballard’s High-Rise ranks, in my estimation, among the most striking ever written.

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. G. Ballardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Della Frattina, BeataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Della Frattina, BeataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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