Crash – J.G. Ballard

Gross.

It’s supposed to be, and it is.

Completely unrelated to the pandering, race relations film by the same name, Ballard’s Crash is about the relationships between cars and sex, sex and death, desire and murder, fear and attraction and semen and vinyl. Lots and lots of focus on semen and vinyl.

In today’s world of hypersexualized violence, it’s actually unusual to find someone capable of writing about sex in a way that’s a complete turn-off. Ballard achieves this through a cast of repulsive characters and a clinical vocabulary of body parts.

According to the introduction, Crash is about “societies dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations”. This may have made more sense in 1973, when the book first came out. In today’s world of dinner table conversations via text messaging, cars hardly seem the biggest threat to interpersonal communication.

So basically, reading Crash will seriously skeeve out anyone nosy enough to read over your shoulder and it will make you closely examine the dashboard of any car you’re traveling in. How much do you like that Jaguar emblem? Enough to want it permanently embedded in your forehead?

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