Concrete Island by J. G Ballard
A Novel

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Synopsis

A chilling novel that pays twisted homage to Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe'. Newly reissued with an introduction from Neil Gaiman. Robert Maitland, a 35 year-old architect, is driving home from his London offices when a blow-out sends his speeding Jaguar hurtling out of control. Smashing through a temporary barrier he finds himself, dazed and disorientated, on a traffic island below three converging motorways. But when he tries to climb the embankment or flag-down a passing car for help it proves impossible - and he finds himself imprisoned on the concrete island. Maitland must survive using only what he can find in his crashed car. As in all Ballard's best work 'Concrete Island' provides an unnerving study of our modern lives and world. With his alienating, 'Ballardian' view of normal events, this is a unique novel from one of the twentieth century's finest writers. This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard's works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Zadie Smith, Adam Philips, Adam Thirlwell and Robert Macfarlane) and brand-new cover designs from the artist Stanley Donwood.
 

About J. G Ballard

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J. G. Ballard was born to British parents in Shanghai, China on November 15, 1930. While a child during World War II, he spent four years in a Japanese POW camp. This experience was the basis for the emotionally moving novel Empire of the Sun, which he adapted into a successful movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. Before becoming a full-time writer, he studied medicine at Cambridge University and served as a pilot in the British Royal Air Force. Ballard is best known for his science fiction writings. His early works were heavily influenced by surrealism. Most of his novels deal with death and destruction of the human spirit. Novels such as Crash, Concrete Island, and High Rise portray a society that is devolving into barbaric chaos. Crash was made into a movie by David Cronenberg in 1996. The Drowned World describes an apocalyptic society, with a hero that ushers in the destruction of the world. His novel Empire of the Sun was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Empire of the Sun was filmed by Steven Spielberg in 1987, starring a young Christian Bale as Jim (Ballard). Ballard moved away from science fiction, but he is still considered one of the leading authors of the genre. He died on April 19, 2009 at the age of 78.
 
Published July 15, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 178 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ballard's newest nightmare fantasy of contemporary society finds hero Robert Maitland marooned on a seemingly deserted traffic island just outside London watching the unconcerned motorists stream by.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Concrete Island: A Novel

Examiner

He gives us more than enough reason to give up hope – he presents our humanity in such frailty – one that can be folded or broken in a moment’s notice.

May 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Concrete Island: A Novel

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