The Kindness of Women

J. G. Ballard

‘The Kindness of Women’ continues the story of the boy whose life in Japanese-occupied Shaghai was described so memorably in ‘Empire of the Sun’, it sets those traumatic events within the context of a lifetime as we follow the narrator, Jim, to England and suburban Shepperton after the war. Jim tries and fails to find stability as a medical student at Cambridge and a trainee RAF pilot in Canada. Then, after settling happily into family life, his world is ripped apart by domestic tragedy. He plunges into the maelstrom of the 1960s, an instigator and subject of every aspect of cultural, social and sexual revolution. All this and much more, we see as the attempt of a bruised mind to make sense of the upheaval around it.

Reviews of The Kindness of Women

  • ‘Autobiography taken to the highest reaches of fiction, another wonderful novel of scorching power’ Observer

    ‘The most modern of writers; his art engages with the artefacts and obsessions of the second half of this century in a manner and with an intensity unmatched by any other writer I can think of’ William Boyd

    ‘Quite as extraordinary an achievement as “Empire of the Sun” … A dazzling construction, a sequence of chapters almost every one of which is a tour de force in its own right’ Guardian

    ‘Compulsively readable … unbearably moving’ Financial Times

    ‘Brilliant … Ballard at his best’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘The terrifying thing about Ballard is his logic; is this science fiction or history written ahead of its time?’ Len Deighton

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