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'The Meaning, if Any, of Life': New Ballard Book

Author: • Oct 17th, 2008 •

Category: autobiography, features, Lead Story, medical procedure


Ballard and the meaning of life

Agent Margaret Hanbury, who is enjoying her 25th Frankfurt Book Fair as an independent agent, touched down with something rather special in her briefcase: a new book by J G Ballard. An envelope arrived, quite out of the blue, a couple of weeks back — Hanbury admits she assumed it was a royalty query.

In fact it contained an outline for a new book, working title Conversations with My Physician. The physician in question is oncologist Professor Jonathan Waxman of Imperial College, London, who
is treating Ballard for prostate cancer. While it is in part a book about cancer, and Ballard’s struggle with it, it moves on to broader themes — indeed, the subtitle is The Meaning, if Any, of Life. The
agent — whose careful handling of Katie Price has propelled the artist formerly known as Jordan to the top of the charts, and to great wealth — is talking to Ballard’s long-standing publishers, among them Fourth Estate in the UK.

It is a poignant moment for Hanbury: in 1983, she arrived in Frankfurt with the manuscript for Empire of the Sun in her briefcase. Ballard’s semi-autobiographical novel went on to be shortlisted for the 1984 Booker Prize, losing to Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac; it won the Guardian Fiction Prize and, four years later, became a Stephen Spielberg film.

[thanks, Tim C]

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8 Responses »

  1. […] closest equivalent to Franz Kafka” (also compared to Henry Green and JG Ballard, who is writing memoir now with the working title “Conversations with My Physician.”) […]

  2. I KNEW it! JGB Can NOT put down his Pen of Power until it at last falls from his hand…

  3. This is great news,

  4. These really are sad cirmumstances for such a book, but I can’t help but be absolutely delighted that Ballard has some new work ready to be published.

  5. ^
    Sad circumstances indeed. It will be very interesting to read Ballard’s take on prostate cancer though.

    My father was diagnosed with it last year. He’s only 53, and it really shook the family. My dad’s come out pretty well so far, and as a family we’ve only gotten stronger.

  6. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for posting this great news, Simon.

  7. ditto

  8. I always thought he’d have something up his sleeve, can’t wait to read this, especially considering the circumstances.

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