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Miracles of Life (2008)Author: Simon Sellars • Feb 2nd, 2008 •
‘Miracles of Life’ opens and closes in Shanghai, the city where J.G.Ballard was born, and where he spent the most of the Second World War interned with his family in a Japanese concentration camp. In the intervening chapters Ballard creates a memoir that is both an enthralling narrative and a detailed examination of the events which would profoundly influence his work. Beginning with his early childhood spent exploring the vibrant surroundings of pre-war Shanghai, Ballard charts the course of his remarkable life from the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of the Lunghua Camp to his return to a Britain physically and psychologically crippled by war. He explores his subsequent involvement in the dramatic social changes of the 1960s, and the adjustments to life following the premature death of his wife. In prose displaying his characteristic precision and eye for detail, Ballard recounts the experiences which would fundamentally shape his writing, while simultaneously providing an striking social analysis of the fragmented post-war Britain that lies behind so many of his novels. ‘Miracles of Life’ is an utterly captivating account of an extraordinary writer’s extraordinary life.
From the Back Cover
‘I was born in Shanghai General Hospital on 15 November 1930, after a difficult delivery that my mother, who was slightly built and slim-hipped, liked to describe to me in later years, as if this revealed something about the larger thoughtlessness of the world’
For almost half a century, J G Ballard has been one of the country’s most important writers. In this revelatory autobiography, bookended by time spent in Shanghai – the city of his childhood and internment in a WWII prison camp, and setting of his novel Empire of the Sun – he charts the course of his remarkable life.
Beginning with his early childhood spent exploring the vibrant surroundings of ‘that magical place’, Miracles of Life takes us from the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of Lunghua Camp to his arrival in a Britain physically and psychologically crippled by war. He recounts his first attempts at fiction while stationed in a frozen airbase in Canada, his part in the social and artistic revolutions of the 60s and his lfe as a single father after the premature death of his wife.
In prose of characteristic precision and wit, Ballard recalls the experiences that would fundamentally shape his writing, while simultaneously providing a striking analysis of the fragmented post-war Britain that lies behind so many of his novels. Miracles of Life is a captivating account of the extraordinary life of an extraordinary writer.
..:: J.G. BALLARD
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