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Super Cannes   by J.G. Ballard

Read: 2019-02-01 Reviewed: 2020-09-01
Re-read factor:

My first Ballard, and supposedly his best work. Thus my extremely high expectations were sure to be confounded. But the work genuinely has a sense of place: the near-future Cannes industrial complex seems to be described down to the blades of grass on the front lawn (the book is not by any means overwrought), and every single one of the people visited in this book is a fully developed individual. It is monumental.

The drift of the story itself is set from the beginning, yet the ending is strangely always a way away and unpredictable. The protagonist goes to Cannes to investigate the murder of his predecessor, and uncovers a psychology experiment that has gotten out of hand: to allow the high-pressured workers of the industrial complex to let off steam by engaging in dangerous, even murderous, activities. The story touches on supremeism and racialism, elitism and oppression, and presents it all under the shiny wrappings of an ultra-modern idealistic, but unattainable, lifestyle. As one turns the pages, the driving thought at the back of one’s mind is ‘How far will they dare to take this?’ In the end, it goes all the way.

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