Monday, April 2, 2012
Kingdom Come (Liveright), by J.G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard's final novel before his death in 2009 offers an almost apocalyptic picture of darkness festering in the shadows of suburbia and the emptiness of a society constructed only for consumption. A murder mystery and a bizarre shooting in a suburban mega-mall propel the story, but Ballard (Empire of the Sun) is more concerned with describing a dystopia rooted in the present than in writing a whodunit. The brittle sarcasm can grow wearisome, the dialogue can be unconvincing and the characters are without much substance—but perhaps that's intentional in a world where obsolescence is not only planned, but also counted on. Patches of Ballard's descriptions and insights are brilliant.