High-Rise: J.G.Ballard’s Moral Challenge

5250003086_1a84312935There’s a film of High Rise being made, and that is a very good thing, if it brings to light and to readers more of Ballard’s work.

The calm, detached way in which JG Ballard depicts a savage community leaves the reader to articulate the frightening implications for themselves

William Golding and Lord of the Flies have been mentioned several times in the early discussion of High-Rise here on the Reading group. This might be partly my fault, since I described the book detailing a “breakdown of society” and “descent from civilisation”. It’s also fair enough: there are clear parallels between JG Ballard’s marauding gangs of violent adults cut off from the world in their concrete fortress and William Golding’s wild children stuck on their island.

Yet while there are obvious similarities, it’s the differences between the books that really matter. They offer radically different views about the loss of moral norms. Implicit in Lord of the Flies is the understanding that even if the children’s descent into savagery is inevitable, it is not admirable. The narrative voice often seems outraged at the unfolding events, while Piggy and Ralph speak loudly for decency and sanity. Jack and his crew have clearly taken a wrong path and are questioned every step of the way.

From an article in The Guardian.  Read more…

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Author: Jeremy Solomons

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