Miracles of Life

J. G. Ballard

‘Miracles of Life’ opens and closes in Shanghai, the city where J.G.Ballard was born, and where he spent the most of the Second World War interned with his family in a Japanese concentration camp.

J.G. Ballard was, for over fifty years, one of this country’s most significant writers. Beginning with the events that inspired his classic novel, “Empire of the Sun”, in this revelatory autobiography he charts the course of his astonishing life.

“Miracles of Life” takes us from the vibrant surroundings of pre-war Shanghai, to the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of Lunghua Camp, to Ballard’s arrival in a devastated Britain. Ballard recounts his first attempts at fiction and his part in the social and artistic revolutions of the 60s. He describes his friendships with figures as diverse as Kingsley Amis, Michael Moorcock and Eduardo Paolozzi alongside recollections of his domestic life in Shepperton – raising three children as a single father following the unexpected and premature death of his wife.

“Miracles of Life” is both a captivating narrative of the experiences that have shaped this extraordinary writer’s works, his distinctive outlook and his original visions of the future, and is also an account of a remarkable life.

Reviews of Miracles of Life

    • ‘A particular delight of this lyrical autobiography lies in spotting the landscapes and events that appear subtly reconfigured, in Ballard’s fiction.’ Observer ‘Critics’ Picks for 2008’
    • ‘The long–awaited memoirs of one of the most interesting British writers.’ Sunday Times ‘Picks for 2008’
    • ‘This book should make yet more converts to a cause that Ballard’s devotees have been pleading for years: that here, bafflingly unacknowledged, has been one of the greatest and sharpest imaginations at work in literature.’ Independent on Sunday
    • ‘Unobtrusively well–written…and fascinating.’ Literary Review
    • ‘The origins of this extraordinary and wonderful writer are now set out in this pellucid, forgiving, tranquil autobiography…this is a remarkable autobiography, treating events which most of us can barely imagine with tranquil dignity and exactness…Ballard has carried out Matthew Arnold’s imprecation to “see life steadily and see it whole”. This is an unforgettable farewell.’ The Spectator
    • ‘Brilliant and mesmerising…this wonderful, clear-sighted autobiography…has a wisdom and depth that makes you long to hug the author and say ‘”Thank you” and wish him well.’ Daily Mail
    • ‘What this brief, modest and occasionally shattering book only glances at is the extraordinary body of work that has flowed from this remarkable life…fascinating….”Miracles of Life” also tells quite another story, unconscious and inadvertent, but finally brave in a way that elevates it to a level of greatness.’ The Observer
    • ‘Exquisitely written…”Miracles of Life”, a subtle, restlessly enquiring work of touching humanity, is Ballard’s crowning achievement.’ Financial Times
    • ‘A jewel…as a writer, he can simply take the breath away.’ The Independent
    • ‘J.G. Ballard’s memoir may be short but it is long on compassion, humour and insight…it is infused with a tremendous generosity of spirit.’ Tatler

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