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High Rise by J.G. Ballard

This was a fascinating read. A commentary on society and isolation from the outside world, Ballard's novel was equal parts psychologically intriguing and flat out revolting (unless eating someone's pet is no big thang to you. Not judging). So, naturally, I was completely and totally here for this book.

The most interesting part of this book was the use of the narrator. Generally the narrator of stories like this acts as the touchstone... the measure of sanity. He sits by and watches as chaos unfolds and the story is his own inner monologue about the happenings--- he is an observer and only involves himself in the action as a catalyst to further the plot. However, in High Rise, Ballard had the main character smack dab in the middle of the insanity. He was just as prone to the power of the fall of the social order as the rest of the tenants of the high rise. Adding the device of revolving narrators gave the reader the opportunity to step away from Dr. Robert Laing only to return to him once he had happily and eagerly entered The Lord of the Flies mentality that had taken over the residents of the building. Once that is realized, the reader understands that there is no reliable narrator to take us through. The reader is on his own and is in jeopardy of succumbing to the same dangers as the characters. There is no safe space in this book. The reader is off kilter and on edge through the entire ride. And that is what makes this novel more of an experience than a book.

Also, the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hiddleston. So, that's all you really need to know. Ignore my entire review above.


When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on enemy floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

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