1858 Followers
27 Following
riley

riley

Currently reading

The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion
Melvin Lerner

Interesting but flawed

Super-Cannes - J.G. Ballard

This is a provocative page turner that raises lots of questions about where late 20th century capitalism is headed. FYI, it's also the first Ballard novel I've read, but I have seen both of the films that were adapted from his books. I found it entertaining and mostly provocative, but I did have a few issues.

For one thing, Sinclair is not that likeable to begin with. I hope that was a deliberate choice but there is a part of me that thinks maybe I just don't like Ballard (if Sinclair is meant to be him). Sinclair reminds me of an old Britain that I don't think many of us miss: classist, sexist, racist, and utterly unaware of that, to the point where he believes he's the very opposite - the most civilized man in the room. But, whether or not it was deliberate, it does make him a more interesting character (if not entirely believable given what later happens).

A bigger issue with the novel is Ballard's view of psychiatry and psychology (he seems to confuse the two) - he appears to a) not really know what psychiatrists actually do in real life (or perhaps he's willing to take a huge artistic license) and b) he seems to think whatever it is they do is as dangerous as fascism, unfettered capitalism, drug abuse and other such things. That's really odd to me and it's a hard hook to hang a plot on, in my opinion. It works a lot better than it should, to his credit, but it's still something that eats at you as you read the novel.

Otherwise, I mostly enjoyed the story, and there was enough going on to keep me interested and guessing.