Friday, July 29, 2016

Fiction Friday (43)

Well, my goal of reading more this year has failed miserably so far. I foolishly thought that by choosing a rather slim novel would propel me farther along, but hadn't counted on it being one of those books that I purposely wanted to go through slowly in order to cherish the language displayed in the text. Also when I set that goal for myself, I hadn't counted on the fact that I'd be going back to school for my Master's degree. That has taken up much of my reading time, which has also contributed to my desire to enjoy the reading I do for pleasure. All that said, I finished a book this week and wanted to share my thoughts. Enjoy. 

The Unlimited Dream Company by J.G. Ballard

I first encountered this book a few years back while reading a book of Ballard quotes and frequently found myself highlighting passages taken from this novel. The surrealist imagery displayed in the passages pretty much assured that this would be my kind of book, and having read it, it certainly was.

As with other Ballard novels, it deals with complicated and borderline obscene portrayals of sex and death and the way the two seem intertwined within his mind. But unlike some of his more controlled use of language and structure, this book has a freedom that I hadn't encountered in his other work. As the title suggests, this book follows a dream logic, complete with the flights that dreams tend to take. 

 The book follows Blake after he crashes a small, stolen airplane into the Thames as it flows through Shepperton. What proceeds is part science-fiction, part marriage of heaven and hell, and a series of bizarre miracles and crimes that often leave the reader feeling perplexed, yet captivated. 

This is the book that I'd been waiting for in all my encounters with Ballard. The language is poetic. The scenery is transcendent. And the plot, surreal. This is an astonishing work of fiction that feels more in tune with the French avant garde writers than the post-modernists, but manages to carve its own path through the world of fiction.

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