Monday, April 20, 2009

R.I.P. J.G.B.

J.G. Ballard was one of those writers who got my attention straight away. From the first page of CRASH I knew I had a real writer on my hands, someone who was going to meddle with the fabric of language itself as well as tell a story. His subjects were perverse and perverted, his humour omnipresent and always sly, his attitude subversive. For my money, a writer can aspire to nothing more.

It was one of his quieter novels that stood out most for me - CONCRETE ISLAND. I don't know if this is my favourite, but it's a definite case where I can see that a novel has influenced me. A set-up as simple as it gets - a guy finds himself somehow stranded on a traffic island on the main atery road out of West London. That is it. A real writer can take it from there and get some truth out of it, as well as a barrel-load of entertainment. That is what JGB did. Time and again.

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