Empire of the Sun

Empire of the SunEmpire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This really does feel like the skeleton key that unlocks the rest of Ballard’s fiction. The retelling of Ballard’s childhood experiences of WW2 is harrowing, and fully captures his view that the trappings of civilisation is “set dressing” that war can easily sweep away. Moments of poetry burst through the grim detailed account of starvation, mistreatment and murder – creating the sense of a fever dream where the planes in the sky appear to be angelic or demonic forces influencing events on the ground. The focus is on Jim’s journey throughout, his extraordinary tenacity and the way it manifests in shifting attachment and detachment from events and the people around him.

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