JG Ballard - Kingdom Come (4 stars)

JG Ballard

Kingdom Come (Fourth Estate)


Septuagenarian novelist JG Ballard belongs to that rare cabal of authors to have had an adjective named after them. ‘Ballardian’ evokes the bleak, urban landscapes and lyrical insight into the dark human effects of technological and social developments that have characterised such works as Vermilion Sands and Crash. In his latest novel, Ballard turns his piercing insight to consumer culture and the attractions and hazards of flag-flying patriotism.

The quietly gripping tale opens with protagonist Richard Pearson, a 42-year-old advertising executive, driving to the Metro Centre, a vast shopping and sports complex in a motorway town called Brooklands, where his father was shot dead, purportedly by a man with severe mental health problems. On further investigation, Richard discovers that the Metro Centre and the motorway town communities where racist attacks on immigrants are widespread and football supporters clubs have been hijacked by English nationalists, hold the key to his father’s death. This is a novel that is both elegantly written and typically provocative.

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