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 more sinister.
A 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 charge.
One 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 M25 which has at its heart the very shiny shoppers' paradise where the shooting happened - the Metro-Centre.
Then 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 24-hour cable TV and sports club...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 02/07/2007
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780007232475
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by joes
Pure Ballard. At this stage I pretty know what to expect from Ballard and this didn't disprove the theory for both good and bad. There is know doubt that Ballard can create a world so close to our own but with a undercurrent of menace always bubbling to the surface. His argument is (from the very interesting author's notes at the end of the book) that people are not inherently good. This argument seems sound enough when one looks at the acts of war but strains credibility for me at least that it will arise from middle class boredom which is the premise of the book. He could well be right however. Again the word 'dystopian' applies and nobody does it better. It's not in any way a pleasant book to read and therein lies its strength however leaving me dismissive but ever so slightly unsettled.
Review by angeltyuan
Despite being an assigned reading for my consumerism class, I did quite enjoy this book.The underlying tension throughout the entire story helps keep the reader intrigued. The social commentary liberally peppered every five pages or so makes this either a very interesting read (if you're studying consumerism) or tedious (if you're looking for character development).The main character/narrator, Richard Pearson, is a very bland man. He is a recently-fired ad man and has many ideas and strategies going through his head, but sometimes he becomes a little too passive, letting the story carry him instead of the other way around. It sometimes feels like he is the ghost watching events unfold.However, there are other parts where he is clearly in denial about his own responsibilities. He is the insecure manipulator questioning his own role in the world of illusions. At times, it almost seems he's fooled even himself with his campaigns.This detachment however, applies to many other characters as well, each in ways paranoid, crazy, or deliberately hiding something. The "mystery" is intriguing, but the revealing of it was pretty anti-climatic (most people will probably guess it at the beginning).