Miracles of Life by J. G. Ballard
Shanghai to Shepperton, An Autobiography

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Despite its shrewd bits, this slim book also has longueurs and repetitions, and Ballard’s prose had lost, by the end, a bit of its elastic snap.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A final statement from the greatest clairvoyant of twentieth-century literature.


Never before published in America, this revelatory autobiography—hailed as “fascinating [and] amazingly lucid” (Guardian)—charts the remarkable story of James Graham Ballard, a man described by Martin Amis as “the most original English writer of the last century.” Beginning with his Shanghai childhood, Miracles of Life guides us from the deprivations of Lunghua Camp during World War II, which provide the back story for his best-selling Empire of the Sun, to his arrival in war-torn England and his emergence as “the ideal chronicler of our disturbed modernity” (Observer). With prose of characteristic precision, Ballard movingly recalls his first attempts at science fiction, the 1970 American pulping of The Atrocity Exhibition—which sprang from his fascination with JFK conspiracy theories—and his life as a single father after the premature death of his wife. “This book should make yet more converts to a cause that Ballard’s devotees have been pleading for years” (Independent).
 

About J. G. Ballard

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J.G. Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930 and lived in England from 1946 until his death in London in 2009. He is the author of nineteen novels, including Empire of the Sun, The Drought, and Crash, with many of them made into major films.
 
Published February 4, 2013 by Liveright. 265 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Miracles of Life
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Feb 05 2013

Despite its shrewd bits, this slim book also has longueurs and repetitions, and Ballard’s prose had lost, by the end, a bit of its elastic snap.

Read Full Review of Miracles of Life: Shanghai to... | See more reviews from NY Times

AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Jason Heller on Feb 11 2013

Ballard wrote Miracles after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2006, so the book’s gaps and compressions might have been a matter of necessity. In spite of those minor letdowns, what emerges is the fullest, most emotionally rich portrait to date of an otherwise aloof and intimidating figure.

Read Full Review of Miracles of Life: Shanghai to... | See more reviews from AV Club

Reader Rating for Miracles of Life
95%

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