The Atrocity Exhibition

J. G. Ballard

The irrational, all-pervading violence of the modern world is the subject of this extraordinary tour de force. The central character’s dreams are haunted by images of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, dead astronauts and car-crash victims as he traverses the screaming wastes of nervous breakdown. Seeking his sanity, he casts himself in a number of roles: H-bomber pilot, presidential assassin, crash victim, psychopath. Finally, through the black, perverse magic of violence he transcends his psychic turmoil to find the key to a bizarre new sexuality.

Reviews of The Atrocity Exhibition

  • ‘I would argue that The Atrocity Exhibition represents the zenith of the experimental novel in English. But Ballard’s marginalia are a tour de force, a wholly original work in their own right. One can hear Ballard’s voice as he offers a surreal evening class on his own work, life and preoccupations. This one is a must’ Will Self

    ‘Brilliant and unnerving…A writer with talent to burn’ The Times

    ‘These stories – “condensed novels”, Ballard has called them – are a high-water mark in English experimental fiction’ New York Times

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