'This is autobiography taken to the highest reaches of fiction, another wonderful novel of scorching power, shot through with honesty and lyricism' Observer The Kindness of Women continues the story of Jim, the young boy whose experiences in Japanese-occupied Shanghai were described in Empire of the Sun. It follows his return to post-war England, ...
'This is autobiography taken to the highest reaches of fiction, another wonderful novel of scorching power, shot through with honesty and lyricism' Observer The Kindness of Women continues the story of Jim, the young boy whose experiences in Japanese-occupied Shanghai were described in Empire of the Sun. It follows his return to post-war England, setting his childhood in the context of a lifetime. Jim tries, and fails, to find stability as a medical student at Cambridge, then as a trainee RAF pilot in Canada. Having finally settled into happy family life, his world is ripped apart by domestic tragedy. He plunges into the maelstrom of the 1960s, an instigator and subject of every aspect of cultural, social and sexual revolution. We follow, in all this, the progress of a bruised mind as it tries to make sense of the upheaval around it. Turning conspicuously, as in Empire of the Sun, to the events of his own life, Ballard makes of experience fiction that is frankly startling and, at its most tender, powerfully moving. This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard's works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Ali Smith, Iain Sinclair, Martin Amis and Ned Beauman) and brand-new cover designs from the artist Stanley Donwood.
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-03-29 Ballard's sequel to his autobiographical epic Empire of the Sun treats the subsequent events of his life, offering visceral immediacy and piercing honesty. This title was cited in PW 's 1992 ``red-and-black'' issue as disappointing publishers' sales expectations in hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1991-07-25 Ballard is a brilliant writer whose Empire of the Sun has been his only major commercial success to date in this country. That mesmerizing novel, based on his childhood in 1930s Shanghai and internment by the Japanese, finds a sequel here. It takes the (lightly fictionalized) events of the author's life through three turbulent decades to end, ironically, with the making of the movie, with the narrator as a bemused extra, and his lifelong obsessions--with America, with planes, car crashes and the fantasies of technology--apparently exorcised. Women is a poignantly vivid account of Ballard's radically dislocated life in which the only constants have been an abiding love for his children and the variety of emotional and erotic consolations provided by a number of different, beautifully drawn women. Beginning with young Jamie back in embattled Shanghai, the novel follows him through return to England, an abortive fling at medical school and a try at flying for the R.A.F. before he settles into an idyllic marriage and the birth of his children--symbolically, in a Thames-side community next door to the great film studios where Empire would one day be recreated. The accidental death of his wife, hitting him, and the reader, with horrifying suddenness, is followed by years of bleakness, including drug experiments in the dizzy '60s, and a gradual return to calm resignation as some of his old friends die off around him. The story's outline may sound banal, but Ballard writing at the top of his powers offers an immediacy that is often visceral. His eye has never been more cinematic, and his love scenes, sexually explicit and often of older people no longer in their physical prime, are touchingly human and moving. But much is moving here: the way Ballard and the children cope with Miriam's death, the changes in a wild bohemian girl as she ages, the cancer death of a friend, the saving of a small girl from drowning. The Kindness of Women is full of scenes and moments that linger hauntingly in the mind, a piercingly honest, vibrant record of a very contemporary life. (Oct.)
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