Concrete Island

J. G. Ballard

Robert Maitland, a 35 year-old architect, is driving home from his London offices when a blow-out sends his speeding Jaguar hurtling out of control. Smashing through a temporary barrier he finds himself, dazed and disorientated, on a traffic island below three converging motorways. But when he tries to climb the embankment or flag-down a passing car for help it proves impossible – and he finds himself imprisoned on the concrete island. Maitland must survive using only what he can find in his crashed car.

As in all Ballard’s best work ‘Concrete Island’ provides an unnerving study of our modern lives and world. With his alienating, ‘Ballardian’ view of normal events, this is a unique novel from one of the twentieth century’s finest writers.

This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard’s works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Zadie Smith, Adam Philips, Adam Thirlwell and Robert Macfarlane) and brand-new cover designs from the artist Stanley Donwood.

Reviews of Concrete Island

  • ‘This allegory of modern life is both compelling and profound’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Ballard’s violent exact prose carries you along irresistibly. You believe him, you accept his vision, and it is a fearful one’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘A tour de force … a nightmare we can all share’ Daily Mail

    ‘Ballard writes with taut and precise economy, and the moral of his brilliantly original fable is plain: the interstices of our concrete jungle are filled with neglected people, and one day those people could be ourselves’ Sunday Times

    ‘Perfectly enjoyable within the horror comic tradition … exceptionally skilful’ Auberon Waugh, Evening Standard

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