To know the work of James Graham Ballard intimately is to understand how limited in scope we are as mere mortals.
At his best, Ballard writes like a perversely erudite angel; a transcendent thinker capable, as Jean-Luc Godard is in his films, of lifting the veils from our faces and showing us a completely different world.
Sadly, in his new book, Kingdom Come, Ballard struggles to break new creative territory. This is essentially the fourth book in a continued exploration of suburbia and bourgeois values.
The novel opens somewhat ominously with the rhetorical “The suburbs dream of violence” and the narrative follows an unemployed advertising executive who is trying to uncover the facts behind his father’s unexpected and brutal murder, but instead finds himself in the heart of a militant consumerist world.
Fans of Ballard will enjoy his common leitmotifs surrounding the motorway exit ramps of the M25, but those new to his work may be disorientated by his rather particular vision.
£17.99 Fourth Estate