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Thy Kingdom Come, JGB Will Be Done

Author: • Sep 16th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere

We’re going to refrain from reviewing or commenting in depth on Kingdom Come until after we conduct our interview with JGB this coming Friday the 22nd, which, hopefully, will be up here the following week.

Reviews are starting to pour in elsewhere, and the predictable camps are facing off: those who attack Ballard for repeating ideas, themes, obsessions…and those who applaud yet another manifestation of his vision.

Here are some KC reviews and interviews that can be readily accessed online:

+ Here Come the Shopping Fascists — Phil Baker, Observer
+ Narratives of the Mall M. John Harrison, Times Online
+ Dystopia Now Murray Waldren, the Australian
+ Revolution in the Aisles Ursula Le Guin, Guardian
+ Life In A Suburban Hell David Robson, Telegraph
+ JG Ballard: The Comforts of Madness Marianne Brace, the Independent
+ On the March Hugo Barnacle, New Statesman
+ All hail the flat-pack führer Lionel Shriver, Telegraph

If you’re feeling lazy, here’s the Guardian’s wrap-up of KC’s critical reception:

Crash – perhaps JG Ballard’s best-known work – was wonderfully strange,” wrote Lionel Shriver in the Daily Telegraph. “Kingdom Come is not-so-wonderfully strained. It doesn’t quite work on any level, though it tries hard.” “Ballard has become unignorably repetitive,” noted Robert Macfarlane in the Sunday Times. “Everyone speaks with the same voice (cultural-studies seminar contribution), the same phrases recur with only slight variations, and each novel features a near-identical array of character-types … Perhaps, though, Ballard is repeating himself because he thinks we’re not listening to him.” “A lot of fun is being had here,” said M John Harrison in the Times Literary Supplement. “The old satirist bares and snaps his teeth as energetically as ever … But beneath the ironic reversals and one-liners, there is a suggestion of autumn cannibalism. Ballard begins to seem like his own victim.” “Kingdom Come isn’t without flaws,” concluded David Flusfeder in the Financial Times. “But that doesn’t matter; we’re in Ballard-land, his old archetypes at war in a familiar-yet-strange terrain, and that should be compelling enough for any reader”.

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3 Responses »

  1. “Everyone speaks with the same voice (cultural-studies seminar contribution), the same phrases recur with only slight variations, and each novel features a near-identical array of character-types … ”
    So? He could be describing any Ballard text! Its called style. Could it be that MAYBE Ballard is doing it on purpose?

  2. If someone has got to 2006 without realising that Ballard is repetitive, there really isn’t much hope for them…. The repetition is the point, and what separates Ballard from middlebrow meddlers who can ‘turn their hand to anything’… After all, a word such as ‘Ballardian’ – like the word ‘Kafkaesque’- could only have purchase if it designates a mode of repetition (as I argued in this post on Millennium People: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/005135.html)…

  3. Not all of us took the same critical approach as the newspapers. My comments on the novel focus on the character of adman Richard Pearson and his “mad” campaign for the Metro-Centre. Surely one of the most unusual fictional ad campaigns ever. And you can read it here: http://www.rickmcgrath.com/jgballard/jgb_kingdom_come.html

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