Crash: A Novel
In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor.
A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, Crash explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.
What people are saying - Write a review
Bat crazy peopleUser Review - wslgeo - Overstock.com
Wonder if these guys are driving around seattle. Reading this has actually had a positive effect on my own driving not wanting to forever carry imprints of my instrument panel on my body. Read full review
Crash, like Naked Lunch and A Clockwork Orange, is an instant addition to one of my favorite categories: books that that I am glad I will never read for the first time again.
The qualifier "for the first time" is important. Crash is provocative, even confrontational. Reading it for the first time can be grueling, causing deep moral and physical discomfort. Its deliberate prose and mechanical descriptions of violence and perversion make you squirm in your seat. The way it unromantically describes sexual relations with emphasis (or perhaps without de-emphasizing) mucous and other waste products of the human body working their way into the fabrics of stained backseats mean you probably shouldn't read this over your lunch break - at least without allowing a good half an hour to digest.
Once you put the book down, however, it sticks with you. You start to think about the characters, their situations, and how you might see yourself reflected in them, even if distorted in curious ways. Ballard describes flatly the features of a funhouse mirror, never lying but also never worrying about whether or not what he sees is the "truth." While remembering the book you stop worrying about the amoral world it presents and start noticing the subtle depths belied by the shock tactics. Crash isn't the work of a shock jockey, someone just in it for the kicks; it is a pre-emptive autopsy, a clinician's appraisal of living beings as systems of organs, desires, and symptoms.
Read it, get over it, linger on it.