Review: High-Rise

High-Rise by J.G. Ballard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I kind of enjoyed this read, but not as much as I hoped. Its an interesting idea and Ballard successfully makes the High-Rise an ominous character looming over the story as a whole, much as the One Ring does in Tolkien (although as the introduction suggests, the darkness is not from the High-Rise, but is in humanity, only revealed and emancipated but the architecture). I think what spoilt it for me is having just read The Narrow Road to the Deep North. This also deals with the ‘fallen’ nature of humanity, our inherent potential for violence and cruelty etc. but in doing so adds a lot more nuance that Ballard’s characters who I felt quickly became two dimensional. In The Narrow Road there is resistance to this descent, glimmers of hope as well as wretchedness. Both books are born out of the war and concentration camps, hence no doubt the authors desire to explore the topic, but to my mine, The Narrow Road does it far more effectively and movingly than High-Rise.

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