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Enter Confusion

The Atrocity Exhibition

Ballard, J. G.

Publisher: Harper Perennial

MNnnerrrgggh.  This book made my brain hurt.

I actually do think I may have sustained long-term damage to my brain cells.  Let me paint you a picture; I was aware of having an out of body experience while I read this tiny volume because I clearly remember watching my body sitting on the sofa smacking the open book against my head until the Lad asked me to stop.  Maybe that’s why my brain hurts, but I’m pretty much blaming it all on The Atrocity Exhibition.  Please don’t get me wrong though, the writing is genius, but it’s a little bit like the book version of that movie Mulholland Drive.  You get little snippets, literally, wee snips of story in no particular order that you have to wade through and even then you don’t know if you get the story, but you’re too scared that people will think you’re a moron if you say you didn’t like it.

Well, no more!  I’m standing up for morons everywhere.  I didn’t get it.  Which is not to say I didn’t like it, because by some miracle I did.  But I had to try and make sense of it by looking it up on the Internet, and you know that it’s a bad sign when you do stuff like that.  This book, according to the Internet, is a classic of underground literature.  It’s style is reminicent of William Burroughs, though that’s from the Internet too, because it’s been so long since I read any Burroughs that I couldn’t trust my memory of what his stuff is like.  He wrote the preface which is contained in this edition, so that was nice to read.

In retrospect, I should have started with something simplier.  We’ve had Ballard’s Empire of the Sun sitting in the bookshelf for a million years, but I read an interview recently with William Gibson where he talks about Ballard being a big influence on him.  And you know what a sucker I am for anything gruesome sounding.  And while parts of it are unnerving, and disturbing, and you end up searching for meaning which you’re not really sure is there, it is totally worth every second. Read the rest of this entry