Cocaine Nights

Cocaine Nights by James Graham Ballard

Purchased 287 times

See more Contemporary Prose



DOWNLOAD E-BOOK

There’s something wrong with Estrella Del Mar, the lazy, sun-drenched retirement haven on Spain’s Costa Del Sol. Lately this sleepy hamlet, home to hordes of well-heeled, well-fattened British and French expatriates, has come alive with activity and culture; the previously passive, isolated residents have begun staging boat races, tennis competitions, revivals of Harold Pinter plays, and lavish parties. At night the once vacant streets are now teeming with activity, bars and cafes packed with revelers, the sidewalks crowded with people en route from one event to the next.

Outward appearances suggest the wholesale adoption of a new ethos of high-spirited, well-controlled collective exuberance. But there’s the matter of the fire: The house and household of an aged, wealthy industrialist has gone up in flames, claiming five lives, while virtually the entire town stood and watched. There’s the matter of the petty crime, the burglaries, muggings, and auto thefts which have begun to nibble away at the edges of Estrella Del Mar’s security despite the guardhouses and surveillance cameras. There’s the matter of the new, flourishing trade in drugs and pornography. And there’s the matter of Frank Prentice, who sits in Marbella jail awaiting trial for arson and five counts of murder, and who, despite being clearly innocent, has happily confessed.

It is up to Charles Prentice, Frank’s brother, to peel away the onionlike layers of denial and deceit which hide the rather ugly truth about this seaside idyll, its residents, and the horrific crime which brought him here. But as is usually the case in a J.G. Ballard book, the truth comes with a price tag attached, and likely without any easing of discomfort for his principal characters.

Cocaine Nights marks a partial return on Ballard’s part to the provocative, highly-successful mid-career methodology employed in novels such as Crash and High Rise: after establishing himself as a science fiction guru in the 1960s, Ballard stylistically shifted gears towards an unnerving, futuristic variant on social realism in the 1970s. Both Crash and High Rise were what-if novels, posing questions as to what the likely results would be if our collective fascination with such things as speed, violence, status, power, and sex were carried just a little bit further: How insane, how brutal could our world become if we really cut loose?

Cocaine Nights asks a question better suited to the ’90s, the age of gated communities and infrared home security systems: Does absolute security guarantee isolation and cultural death? Conversely, is a measure of crime an essential ingredient in a vibrant, living, properly functioning social system? Is it true, as a character asserts, that “Crime and creativity go together, always have done,” and that “total security is a disease of deprivation”? Suffice to say that the answers presented in Nights will be anathema to moral absolutists; the world of Ballard’s fiction, like life in the hyperkinetic, relativistic 1990s, abounds with uncomfortable grey areas.

On the surface, Cocaine Nights is a whodunit and a race against time, but as it proceeds – and as preconceived conceptions of good and evil begin to dissolve – it evolves into a thoughtful, faintly frightening look at under-examined aspects of 1990s western society. As is his wont, Ballard confronts his readers with some faintly outlandish hypotheses unlikely to be embraced by many, but which nonetheless serve to provoke both thought and a bit of paranoia; it’s a method that Ballard has developed and refined on his own, and as usual, it propels his novel along marvellously.

Cocaine Nights doesn’t have either the broad sweep or brute impact of the landmark Crash, but it retains enough social relevance and low-key creepiness to more than satisfy Ballardphiles. As is often the case in Ballard’s alternate reality, it’s a given that his most appealing, human characters turn out to be the most twisted, and that even the most normal of events turn out to be governed by a perverse, malformed logic; that this logic turns out to be grounded in sound sociological and psychological principles is its most horrific feature.

David B. Livingstone

270 pages, published in
James Graham Ballard

A book by James Graham Ballard

James Graham Ballard (English J ames Graham Ballard , literary form JG Ballard ; November 15, 1930 - April 19, 2009) - English writer, one of the largest figures in English literature of the second half of the XX century. Initially, science fiction stories and novels brought him fame, and later also psychopathological thrillers ("Car Crash", "Concrete Island", etc.).  Biography James Ballard was born on November 15, 1930 in Shanghai in the family of a British diplomat. During World War II, he was with his parents in a Shanghai Japanese concentration camp for civilians. After his release, he moved to London, where, after graduating from high school, he entered the British Air Force. Ballard was greatly influenced by the art of surrealism. Since 1956 he began to publish stories in science fiction magazines. In 1961, his first novel, The Wind from Nowhere, came out - like the next two - written in the genre of a disaster novel. In 1970, the tenth collection of Ballard`s stories - "Exhibition of Cruelty" was published, which brought scandalous fame to the writer. The stories included in the book fell only remotely into the NFL category. Ballard had previously been less interested in aspects of the NFL such as progress, technology, the future, foreign civilizations, and so on. - his main focus was on changing human psychology due to the most extraordinary circumstances. "Exhibition of Cruelty" shifted the emphasis of the writer`s prose from psychology to psychopathology: from now on, Ballard`s heroes were possessed by various ideas, phobias and a morbid passion for violence. The culmination of a new period of creativity was the novel "Car Crash" (1973), in which the writer established a sexual connection between a person and car accidents (their process and consequences), bringing the hero to a complete obsession with projecting death in a car accident. In the novel, Ballard, through the lips of his hero, developed death for Elizabeth Taylor, in another story of the same time he wrote a plan for the assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy. An American publisher returned the manuscript back to England marked "The author is clearly pathologically ill." A couple of weeks after he wrote Crash, Ballard rolled over in his car and flew into the oncoming lane. In 1996, David Cronenberg directed the film of the same name for "Car Crash". The novels "Concrete Island" (1973) and "High-Rise" (1975), which also represented the psychological distortion of the consciousness of a person driven into hopeless niches of a big city, came out after "Car Crash". A departure from urban themes were the new novels The Factory of Endless Dreams in 1979 (a surreal extravaganza of an erotic nature), Hello America, Empire of the Sun (an autobiographical novel based on which Steven Spielberg directed the film of the same name in 1987). Since the 1980s. Ballard`s new theme is the disclosure of the dark sides of the human subconscious in the actions of ordinary people who have absorbed the microdoses of violence carefully measured by the author - the novels "Mad" (1988), "Cocaine Nights" (1994; and his more developed version of "Supercans", 2000), "People Millennium "(2003). Ballard is recognized as one of the leading English language stylists and visionaries. He is willingly interviewed on topical topics, although the writer himself appears little in public, does not participate in any social or literary activities in Great Britain. Since the 1970s. Ballard lives in the London suburb of Shepperton. The last novel ("The Kingdom of God") was published in 2006. Ballard`s autobiography Miracles of Life was released in January 2008, and in an interview with The Sunday Times, Ballard said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in mid-2006, prompting him to write his autobiography. J.

Ballard`s website: http://www.jgballard.com/

Cocaine Nights PDF

James Graham Ballard (English J ames Graham Ballard , literary form JG Ballard ; November 15, 1930 - April 19, 2009) - English writer, one of the largest figures in English literature of the second half of the XX century. Initially, science fiction stories and novels brought him fame, and later also psychopathological thrillers ("Car Crash", "Concrete Island", etc.).  Biography James Ballard was born on November 15, 1930 in Shanghai in the family of a British diplomat. During World War II, he was with his parents in a Shanghai Japanese concentration camp for civilians. After his release, he moved to London, where, after graduating from high school, he entered the British Air Force. Ballard was greatly influenced by the art of surrealism. Since 1956 he began to publish stories in science fiction magazines. In 1961, his first novel, The Wind from Nowhere, came out - like the next two - written in the genre of a disaster novel. In 1970, the tenth collection of Ballard`s stories - "Exhibition of Cruelty" was published, which brought scandalous fame to the writer. The stories included in the book fell only remotely into the NFL category. Ballard had previously been less interested in aspects of the NFL such as progress, technology, the future, foreign civilizations, and so on. - his main focus was on changing human psychology due to the most extraordinary circumstances. "Exhibition of Cruelty" shifted the emphasis of the writer`s prose from psychology to psychopathology: from now on, Ballard`s heroes were possessed by various ideas, phobias and a morbid passion for violence. The culmination of a new period of creativity was the novel "Car Crash" (1973), in which the writer established a sexual connection between a person and car accidents (their process and consequences), bringing the hero to a complete obsession with projecting death in a car accident. In the novel, Ballard, through the lips of his hero, developed death for Elizabeth Taylor, in another story of the same time he wrote a plan for the assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy. An American publisher returned the manuscript back to England marked "The author is clearly pathologically ill." A couple of weeks after he wrote Crash, Ballard rolled over in his car and flew into the oncoming lane. In 1996, David Cronenberg directed the film of the same name for "Car Crash". The novels "Concrete Island" (1973) and "High-Rise" (1975), which also represented the psychological distortion of the consciousness of a person driven into hopeless niches of a big city, came out after "Car Crash". A departure from urban themes were the new novels The Factory of Endless Dreams in 1979 (a surreal extravaganza of an erotic nature), Hello America, Empire of the Sun (an autobiographical novel based on which Steven Spielberg directed the film of the same name in 1987). Since the 1980s. Ballard`s new theme is the disclosure of the dark sides of the human subconscious in the actions of ordinary people who have absorbed the microdoses of violence carefully measured by the author - the novels "Mad" (1988), "Cocaine Nights" (1994; and his more developed version of "Supercans", 2000), "People Millennium "(2003). Ballard is recognized as one of the leading English language stylists and visionaries. He is willingly interviewed on topical topics, although the writer himself appears little in public, does not participate in any social or literary activities in Great Britain. Since the 1970s. Ballard lives in the London suburb of Shepperton. The last novel ("The Kingdom of God") was published in 2006. Ballard`s autobiography Miracles of Life was released in January 2008, and in an interview with The Sunday Times, Ballard said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in mid-2006, prompting him to write his autobiography. J. Ballard`s website: http://www.jgballard.com/