Author: J.G. Ballard | Page Count: 185
“The intimate time and space of a single human being had been fossilized for ever in this web of chromium knives and frosted glass.”
Crash is a subversive novel about a film-maker named James Ballard (the same as the author) who meets a deviant named Robert Vaughan. The longer Ballard spends in Vaughan’s company the more influenced by him he becomes. He's soon happily entwined in a secret world of car crashes and illicit sex, and as a result his own sexual ideals begin to change dramatically. Robert Vaughan is a character seen previously in The Atrocity Exhibition (1970). He was a perverted weirdo there and he's much the same here. He surrounds himself with like-minded individuals and the reasons for doing so become clear the more you read.
There's no doubting J. G. Ballard’s ability to write good prose, he has a unique and commanding style, but there's only so many times I can read about man-sauce running down the cracks of car seats before I begin to get very bored of it (the exact number is once). In fact, novels that rely on graphic sex bore me completely. It was the knowledge that Ballard (the author) uses language in a very overtly offensive way that kept me reading, not the story or the hateful characters who were each flawed but not in a beneficial, sympathetic way.
Ballard has pointed out in interviews that the glamorisation and sexual means used to sell fast cars to the public is way out of control. I completely agree. How many times have you seen an attractive model draped seductively across the bonnet of a car? The darker side of car ownership is the death toll associated with misuse. We accept automobiles as a part of daily life, even lust after them, but they're as much instruments of murder and manslaughter as they are of convenience. The later part tends to be forgotten—or more precisely pushed out of mind. We put our children in them. We fuck in them. We cry in them. We die in them. Crash attempts to remind on every page that sex and death are inextricably linked and that one can be a means to the other, and vice versa. It’s a largely boring but superbly written endeavour.
2 logic and reason are not the same thing out of 5