J.G. Ballard’s creation to remember
I’ve enjoyed the works of many writers through the years, but the writer who came closest to my inner self must be J.G. Ballard. From the thoroughly confusing and perhaps disturbing imagery of “The Atrocity Exhibition” to the dreamy landscapes of “The Crystal World” Ballard has always managed to create a surreal world that seemed at times more real than reality itself. Or at least as long as I was immersed in reading. My first encounter with a Ballard novel, in the early 1980s, was not very promising. I picked up a second hand copy of “Hello America” on a market, not because I knew the author but because the premise of the work intrigued me: America had turned into an uninhabitable desert and had been abandoned a hundred years ago. A group of explorers decides to enter the solitary continent to see if the situation has improved and finds there’s still people living in the U.S.A. under the strangest of circumstances. While reading I discovered a few pages were missing. Or to be precise: a small part of the book contained a white page every third or fourth page so I had to jump through the story. This serious hickup probably didn’t contribute to my reader’s experience and the name J.G. Ballard didn’t stick with me. It wasn’t until after the release of “Empire of the Sun”, the Steven Spielberg film of Ballard’s novel, that I became interested again. And I was lucky. Because Ballard had suddenly become a best selling author (1987) his next novel was stacked high in my local bookstore. This novel was of course “The Day of Creation”. It blew me completely off my feet and out of reality. I’ve read it a couple of times since and it still amazes me and abducts me from real life. The strange Ballardian world of this novel is still one of my favorite hideaways. I hope to return there in the near future.