Prime Kingdom Come (P.S.) –

With A New Introduction By Deborah Levy And A Striking New Cover Design By The Artist Stanley Donwood, Ballard S Final Novel Sees Consumerism Evolve Into Something Even SinisterA Gunman Opens Fire In A Shopping Mall Not A Terrorist, Apparently, But A Madman With A Rifle Or Not, As He Is Mysteriously And Quickly Set Free Without ChargeOne Of The Victims Is The Father Of Richard Pearson, Unemployed Advertising Executive And Life Long Rebel Now He Is Driving Out To Brooklands, The Apparently Peaceful Town On The M Which Has At Its Heart The Very Shiny Shoppers Paradise Where The Shooting Happened The Metro CentreThen The Main Suspect Is Released Thanks To The Testimony Of Self Styled Pillars Of The Community Like The Doctor Who Treated Richard S Father On His Deathbed Richard, Determined To Unravel The Mystery, Starts To Believe That Something Deeply Sinister Lurks Behind The Pristine Facades Of The Labyrinthine Mall, Its Hour Cable TV And Sports Club

5 thoughts on “Kingdom Come (P.S.)

  1. Stephen Culp Stephen Culp says:

    JG Ballard is among Britain s most famous curmudgeons Cynical in the extreme, this is the man in showed us sodomy in the car wreck Crash and a person devouring a dog on the balcony of a luxury condo High Rise Here, it s about a mega mall and how it poisons the minds of the suburban psyche, how consumerism supplants democracy, how lies become truth, how it fuels xenophobia and violence Good ideas, best expressed by others Ballard is hell bent on telling us what to think about all this I could have reached much of these conclusions on my own without his not so subtle prodding Good ideas here, an apt final work from a genius, but not rewarding, ultimately He s ranting here, and it doesn t make for a satisfying novel.

  2. TheHappyGentleman TheHappyGentleman says:

    Violence, boredom, suburban angst, existential anxiety These is the bread and butter of Ballard s late novels His language is beautiful and the story is erie in how it captures the absurdity of life in the early twenty first century.

  3. JD13 JD13 says:

    In many ways this story looks back to the earlier, apocalyptic works of Ballard while casting a cautionary eye at where a society too focused on consumerism could lead to Ballard s prose is as fine as ever, as is his wit and imagination I can t give it five stars because it feels like it needs one or two chapters but overall, a fine book.

  4. Ashley Crawford Ashley Crawford says:

    Kingdom ComeBy J.G Ballard4th Estate Harper CollinsIn his astonishing new novel J.G Ballard has discovered the apocalypse in the form of washing machines, stereo units and every other form of what his characters have dubbed, with both political and religious fervour, Consumerism.Ballard s novels have often touched a nerve, from his erotic schizoid Crash to his semi autobiographical The Empire of the Sun Much of his earlier work was decidedly fantastical and often generically dubbed science fiction But in his recent novels Ballard has been investigating the present Often dubbed a Futurist, his conclusions are unnerving indeed.In some ways Kingdom Come is a return to form for Ballard His three previous novels Cocaine Nights, Super Cannes, Millennium People seemed somewhat anchored by his attempts to grapple the strangeness of contemporary suburban life But in Kingdom Come Ballard is both terrifyingly insightful and at his most phantasmagorical best.Kingdom Come in its 280 pages seems to achieve a strangely heroic, epic scale In essence it is the story of a rather ineffectual, unemployed advertising executive, Richard Pearson But when Pearson s father is murdered in a labyrinthine shopping mall in suburban Brooklands near the Heathrow Airport he sets out to investigate why the initially accused shooter has been set free Thus begins a surreal journey into the heartlands of English suburbia, thuggish sports riots, racism, terrorism, hostage taking, contemporary politics, consumer greed, religious extremism, family relations and far .Where Kingdom Come succeeds is in its fine high wire act of balancing pure farce, surreal imagery and real world events One suspects that Ballard, who lives in suburban Shepparton outside of London, may have personally witnessed some of the racist attacks that have become commonplace during soccer riots he depicts the senseless vandalism and violence with solemn clarity.He is equally acute in describing the culturally void environs in which such violence occurs His satellite suburbs are essentially devoid of, libraries, art galleries or traditional places of worship His Brookland is dominated by a central grand edifice, a vast shopping mall dubbed the Metro Centre, the site of what he comes to believe is his father s deliberate assassination.Brooklands has become dominated by the semi martial football gangs The populace wear clothing adorned with the cross of Saint George, without which one is invariably a target of the hooligans.Ballard s tale builds powerfully as Pearson s paranoia grows apace, leading to a hostage situation replete with a virulent form of Stockholm Syndrome On the wild ride we encounter many of Ballard s favourite tropes and his increasing tendency towards self referentiality Pearson s father was an airline pilot, leading to riffs reflecting Ballard s fascination with flight a reverie of wings that overflew deserts and tropical estuaries references to his earlier books, The Drought and The Day of Creation respectively The near by racetrack features a monument to the 1930s the heroic age of speed, the era of the Schnieder Trophy seaplane race and record breaking flights Ballard s nostalgia for the 30s and the notion of flight and freedom are personal touchstones for the author He was born in 1930 in Shanghai and shortly afterwards his family were interred in a civilian prison camp Like the author himself, it doesn t take long for Pearson to be similarly entrapped, as much psychologically as physically, when he visits the Metro Centre.The mall has become the town centre No one attends church Why bother a character muses early in the piece They find spiritual fulfillment at the New Age centre, first left after the burger bar Pearson s initial attempts to leave Brooklands and return to London are thwarted early on as all roads seem to lead back to the Metro Centre and its immediate environs Initially panicked, Pearson soon concludes that the Centre smothered unease, defused its own threat and offered balm to the weary But the muzak played in the mall has a distinctly martial edge to it, which is stringently replicated when the football hooligans begin marching in step and wearing uniforms emblazoned with the cross of St George.As always Ballard rewrites the rules Rather than Modernism being followed by Postmodernism, in Kingdom Come Modernism is followed by Consumerism which at its extreme is compared to Nazi Germany and fundamentalist Islam and Christianity All, his central character posits, are states of willed madness As a new regime emerges from the chaos of football violence we are led through a thinly veiled analysis of disinformation that is easily read as a metaphor for Tony Blair s government.The new regime take over the Metro Centre, holding the mass of consumers hostage, many of them joining the insane campaign to establish a new Consumerism The Centre becomes a tropical sauna, an enclosed environment where cargo cult style shrines appear in the mist This is Ballard s most evocative writing for many years, a descent into madness that sees the ultimate shopping mall meet Conrad s Heart of Darkness.

  5. Dawna N Dawna N says:

    This book was strange but I stuck with it and found it to be interesting and thought provoking It did go on a little long, perhaps However, I think it s worth a read.