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Concrete Island

Concrete Island On a day in April just after three o clock in the afternoon Robert Maitland s car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high speed highway onto the island below where he is injured and finally t

  • Title: Concrete Island
  • Author: J.G. Ballard
  • ISBN: 9780312420345
  • Page: 291
  • Format: Paperback
  • On a day in April, just after three o clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland s car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament in Concrete Island soon turns into horror as Maitland a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe realizes that, despite evideOn a day in April, just after three o clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland s car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament in Concrete Island soon turns into horror as Maitland a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory.

    • [PDF] Concrete Island | by ☆ J.G. Ballard
      291 J.G. Ballard
    Concrete Island

    About Author

    1. J.G. Ballard says:
      James Graham J G Ballard 15 November 1930 19 April 2009 was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic or post apocalyptic novels such as The Drowned World 1962 , The Burning World 1964 , and The Crystal World 1966 In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on an eclectic variety of short stories or condensed novels such as The Atrocity Exhibition 1970 , which drew closer comparison with the work of postmodernist writers such as William S Burroughs In 1973 the highly controversial novel Crash was published, a story about symphorophilia and car crash fetishism the protagonist becomes sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car crashes The story was later adapted into a film of the same name by David Cronenberg.While many of Ballard s stories are thematically and narratively unusual, he is perhaps best known for his relatively conventional war novel, Empire of the Sun 1984 , a semi autobiographical account of a young boy s experiences in Shanghai during the Second Sino Japanese War as it came to be occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army Described as The best British novel about the Second World War by The Guardian, the story was adapted into a 1987 film by Steven Spielberg.The literary distinctiveness of Ballard s work has given rise to the adjective Ballardian , defined by the Collins English Dictionary as resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J G Ballard s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry describes Ballard s work as being occupied with eros, thanatos, mass media and emergent technologies.

    Comment 840 on “Concrete Island

    1. William1 says:
      3.5 stars Not SF as I ordinarily think of it, a quasi dystopia set in the present day Affluent Robert Maitland crashes his Jaguar on a precipitous traffic island such as we see all the time occupying the waste ground between ramps and highways He climbs the grade to street level, but the traffic s too fast and there are no shoulders He struck in the hand by an oblivious passing motorist Then inflammation and sets in his injuries keep him feverish in the wrecked Jag When he s ambulatory again, t [...]

    2. Susan Budd says:
      The first book I read by Ballard was The Drowned World What I liked most about it was the imagery The story itself, especially once the action truly began, seemed much less important than the mood Ballard established at the beginning with his lush descriptive writing However, with Concrete Island, I was immediately captivated by the story.This is the story of one man, Robert Maitland, and for almost half the book he is the only character I like that I like stories that focus on a single individu [...]

    3. Stuart says:
      Concrete Island Stranded in modernity like a latter day CrusoeOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureIn the early 1970s, J.G Ballard was busily creating modern fables of mankind s increasingly urban environment and the alienating effect on the human psyche Far from humans yearning to return to their agrarian and hunter gatherer roots, Ballard posited that modern man would begin to adapt to his newly created environment, but at what price Ballard s protagonists in Crash 1973 , Concrete Island 197 [...]

    4. Mike says:
      Every time I finish a J.G Ballard novel Concrete Island is my fourth in the last year or so I think two things 1 hey, that was pretty terrific 2 it s a shame I didn t read it ten years ago Which is not to say I m ashamed I ve been so slow to hop on the Ballard train, or worried I ve become terminally bourgy in my old age The 29 year old me thinks Ballard was a hell of a writer, but the 19 year old me, the guy who couldn t stop listening to Kid A and Hex Enduction Hour on repeat, who was obsessiv [...]

    5. Cody says:
      I gotta hand it to Ballard there hasn t been one book I ve read of his where, halfway through, I m not ready to yank my fucking hair out only to have him pull it out of his ass I honestly don t know how he does it My theory his storylines are so ridiculously preposterous and escalating exponentially page by page that by the time he goes to pull all the threads together, it just works out of some weird logic that you have to acknowledge is pretty darn original Of course, that means that the absol [...]

    6. Nate D says:
      Traveling west from New York City, to Newark Airport or down the coast or inland and away, on a PATH train or New Jersey Transit or in a car on the highway, you first have to cross the Meadowlands Crisscrossed by old and new transit options and little else, this stretch of marshes and landfill mounds has become an entirely liminal space, a place designed only to be passed through without stopping Naturally, I ve become fascinated with this empty overlooked space as a destination, a place to wand [...]

    7. Ray says:
      Interesting concept a man crashes his car and ends up in a concrete wasteland between motorways His injuries from the crash are such that he cannot climb the embankment back up to the road.How does he survive Over the period of a few days he manages to create a precarious life whilst all around him the relentless traffic flows by, oblivious to him and his fateThere is even a small community living on the island, comprising a paranoid prostitute and a former trapeze artist who has fallen on his h [...]

    8. Jonfaith says:
      A haunting tale, throbbing in its urban insecurity, matters of quotidian angst reach crisis Each daytrader becomes a Crusoe It is imperative that the reader control its breathing Once the cast expanded, about half way through, the tension dropped considerably and a different game was unleashed, different and not near as compelling This becomes a dialogue about conformity, productivity Matters become controlled when steered by a bank account I still enjoyed Concrete Island immensely.

    9. Matt says:
      I understand that Ballard had designs at one point on adapting this into a children s book entitled Robert Maitland and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Don t quote me on that, though.This little book is the perfect complement to Ballard s infamous novel, Crash The difference here is that we get a look at the not so fun side of the car crash compared to the zany, sexually fetishized thing that Crash had going for it I love Ballard s unique writing style His voice is most often that [...]

    10. Vit Babenco says:
      Even if no man is an island in the modern world any man could be found living in a total psychological isolation like on a desert island And anyone can feel lonely in a crowd In fact, the whole city was now asleep, part of an immense unconscious Europe, while he himself crawled about on a forgotten traffic island like the nightmare of this slumbering continent So Concrete Island can be read as a parable of alienation of an individual in the vast urbanized world He realized, above all, that the a [...]

    11. Sean says:
      A man drives his Jaguar off an exit ramp at high speed and crashes onto an isolated piece of wasteland beneath the convergence of three highway overpasses Though not catastrophically injured in the accident, he ends up doing further violence to his body while trying to signal for help on the road above The situation gets worse before it ever approaches what anyone would describe as better This is a compulsively readable novel with its short chapters and singular focus Certainly one can choose to [...]

    12. Kayıp Rıhtım says:
      Gen bir mimar olan Robert Maitland, Londra daki ofisinden evine do ru yol al rken, arac n n lasti inin patlamas sonucu otoyollar n kesi ti i, otlarla kapl noktaya, trafik adas olarak adland r lan yere d er Kurtulmak i in her yolu deneyen Maitland, ehirdeki duyars z insanlarla dolu bu yoldan kurtulman n kolay olmad n k sa s re sonra ac bir ekilde tecr be edecektir.Beklenmedik bir anda t m o modern imkanlar n yitirip, ilkel bir a a d nen Maitland bir ekilde hayatta kalmak, i i ve ailesine geri d n [...]

    13. Benoit Lelièvre says:
      It was great by any Ballardian standards, but I feel that the allegory overtook the narrative and the characters a little bit compared to HIGH RISE CONCRETE ISLAND is the living embodiment of an idea than an actual novel Nothing in it can be taken at face value Because if you do, it can get a little boring The best way I can describe CONCRETE ISLAND is ROBINSON CRUSOE meets LOST The island where Robert Maitland has fallen on has claimed him for a reason he s not ready to face yet So, the island [...]

    14. Manda says:
      Being stranded and forgotten about a modern treasure island in today s London is surely not possible with CCTV and mobile phones When this was published though perhaps what happens was an actual possibility.Regardless, I enjoyed this book, well written and brilliantly presented Characters plausible and overall, a great read.

    15. Elizabeth says:
      This is a slightly terrifying book I wasn t sure how the author was going to pull off the plausibility of it all Robert Maitland, architect, Londoner, crashes his car into an embankment in London, an island, and histrionics of various degrees ensue What seems to be a predicament that can be easily fixed turns out to be not only much harder to remedy but a predicament that veers into hellacious The thing is, with all of this, he s not alone I can t say .I know there s a lesson in here and I suspe [...]

    16. StevenGodin says:
      The formula for this is pretty straightforward, goes something like this,Robinson Crusoe the ocean and Robinson himself an arrogant British businessman, a load of tarmac and a couple of weirdos Concrete Islandoh hang on, better just add a sprinkling of dystopia to the mix, there that s about right.

    17. Bert says:
      Ballard in the Seventies was a true artist I love how obsessive these novels are, each one picking apart the cold voidyness of cars, concrete, high rises but also maybe saying these things are just reflections of our own unnatural selves in a Ballardian twist my copy has the wrong blurb on the back so the fact that nothing happened as described just confused my dough brain even than usual.

    18. piperitapitta says:
      Forse qualcosa anticipo, da leggere con circospezione Robert Maitland un architetto londinese che, lanciato al volante della sua Jaguar mentre torna a casa, vittima di un incidente stradale, a seguito del quale si trova ad essere prigioniero di un isola spartitraffico, sottostante i piloni di cemento, all incrocio tra tre autostrade.L isola di cemento un luogo coperto da vegetazione selvatica, pneumatici e auto abbandonate e dove c persino un vecchio cinema in disuso insomma, terra di nessuno.Ro [...]

    19. Lukasz says:
      I have been putting off reading my first Ballard for just too long to feel genuinely disappointed It s just that I have grown used to thinking of Ballard as potentially my favourite author, one whose brutalist anti fantasies would forever define my personal ideal for architectural aesthetics conveyed in writing Now that I m somewhat underwhelemed by his heavy handed post existentialist allegorism did i rly just type that and poor handling of anything involving than one character or one object, [...]

    20. F.R. says:
      This is a book I should have read earlier This is a book I ve had in the back of my mind to read for a very long time now, and it shames me a little that I ve only just got around to it If you think about it, the notion of a man who gets stuck on a traffic island, a patch of wasteland at the intersection of the new motorway network, is something which could also have been done by the contemporaneous Monty Python s Flying Circus Imagine Michael Palin s It s man staring forlornly at the traffic Bu [...]

    21. Guy Portman says:
      35 year old architect Robert Maitland is driving along the orbital road, Westway, in London, when he loses control of his Jaguar, ploughs through the barriers and plummets onto an underpass Having injured his leg in the crash, our protagonist, unable to make it back to road, finds himself stranded on this concrete island Initially he assumes that the crash must have been noticed and that the authorities will soon rescue him When this does not happen he attempts to catch the attention of passers [...]

    22. Pablo Bueno says:
      La verdad es que no he disfrutado tanto como esperaba este libro Es mi primer Ballard y, pese a que la calidad del autor est fuera de toda duda, mi impresi n, que por lo que he visto comparte m s de uno, es que no se trata de una de sus mejores obras El libro tiene una serie de virtudes que son muy meritorias, destacando la propia escritura y arquitectura del mismo El planteamiento de partida resulta tan rocambolesco que atrae much simo Ballard tiene una facilidad sorprendente para gestionar est [...]

    23. Bandit says:
      I really thought I d like this Both the author and the book came highly recommended by reliable sources Yet as I m processing the strange brief reading experience this has been, I have to say that I don t think I liked it very much It was conceptually interesting and I appreciated it and what it was trying to say, as a life long city dweller I find urban isolation to be a fascinating subject, but the lack of likable or compelling characters, the fact that this seemed like a short story or a nov [...]

    24. Ari says:
      Short, direct novel on the isolation of man surrounded by stone and metal Sometimes being alone and without troubles is the best choice A robinson crusoe for the modern man.

    25. berthamason says:
      Unusual and intriguing little book with a predictable, yet fitting, ending.

    26. Joe says:
      Ballard does the introduction to the book himself and talks about Robinson Crusoe and how it makes you think of humanity and the way we interact or fail to interact as the case may be.The premise sounds simple and it is a guy crashes his car into a concrete divide area near a motorway and is unable to escape due to the layout and circumstances I made the presumption of it being focused entirely on isolation and the effects that has on the human psyche It does indeed do that but it does so much [...]

    27. Abby says:
      This book was strange And weird Here is my review The premise A Way awesome A guy crashes off of the freeway and gets stranded on an island between the roads Or sort of below them To be honest, I never could figure out exactly how it was set up It was an island, but big And there were other wrecked cars, and old ruins of buildings from before the freeway was built And he was chained in on one side by a fence, and had to climb a steep embankment on the other I think He tries to escape, but can t [...]

    28. Shel says:
      Pairs well with William Golding s Pincher Martin The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin, an excellent shipwrecked story with similar themes the movie 127 Hours which also explores the thin line between the comfort and security individuals take for granted within a well equipped society and how weak and vulnerable a person may rapidly become in isolationWriters read this for An example of in media res The story begins when Robert Maitland s car crashes over a concrete barrier and evolves as Maitlan [...]

    29. Perry Whitford says:
      On his way home to his wife and child after three days away at work and three nights with his mistress, Robert Maitland is speeding when his Jaguar blows a tire and crashes off the motorway down a steep embankment into a deserted triangle of wasteland.Not badly injured initially, Maitland s immediate steps to extricate himself from the island , where he is never than thirty foot away from civilization, result in a worsening of his situation, a mangled hip and a disorienting fever He tries vario [...]

    30. Andrew says:
      When Robert Maitland comes off the road in his Jaguar he is shocked but uninjured He is instantly confident that he will be rescued in no time However his escape from the triangle of waste ground, surrounded on all sides by motorway, is much elusive than he could ever have imagined Ballard writes exhilarating prose telling the story of how Maitland quickly descends into madness, as he finds himself totally isolated from the world he knows I think the key of this book lies in the repetition with [...]

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