'The Kindness of Women' continues the story of Jim, the young boy whose experiences in Japanese-occupied Shanghai were described in 'Empire of the Sun'. It follows his return to post-war England, setting his childhood in the context of a lifetime. Jim tries, and fails, to find stability as a medical student at Cambridge, then as a trainee RAF pilot in Canada. Having finally settled into happy family life, his world is ripped apart by domestic tragedy.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
J. G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai. After internment in a civilian prison camp, his family returned to England in 1946. His 1984 bestseller `Empire of the Sun' won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His controversial novel `Crash' was made into a film by David Cronenberg. His autobiography `Miracles of Life' was published in 2008, and a collection of interviews with the author, `Extreme Metaphors', was published in 2012. J. G. Ballard passed away in 2009.From Kirkus Reviews:
In Empire of the Sun (1984), Ballard turned his searing childhood memories--of prison-camp experiences in WW II Shanghai- -into fiercely effective autobiographical fiction. This episodic sequel begins again in Shanghai but quickly moves to England, as narrator ``Jim'' explores sex, marriage, fatherhood, and friendship through the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies. The opening chapters return to the horror of the Shanghai bombing and the Lunghua prison-camp; worst of all, at war's end, 15-year-old Jim witnesses the torture-murder of a young Chinese prisoner--a monstrosity that will haunt him always. As a med student at Cambridge he tries to exorcise corpse-filled memories by calmly dissecting a cadaver. A short stint in the RAF--another attempt at confronting the violence within--is equally unsuccessful. So Jim instead forgets the past by settling into a cozy domestic present: marriage to earthy Miriam, three children, a quiet life in suburban Shepperton (near England's film studios). But Miriam's sudden accidental death, during a vacation in Spain, reawakens Jim's sense of dislocation--just in time for the ``crazed'' 1960's. He tries LSD, unorthodox sex (with a rich, kinky young American woman), curates an exhibition of crashed cars--``a potent symbol in the new logic of violence and sensation that ruled our lives.'' He broods upon the media-zation of postwar society, as embodied by a friend who becomes a TV psychology-guru...and ultimately films his own death from cancer. But the wounds from Shanghai never fully heal, not even when Jim--after the success of Empire--has a cathartic (and erotic) reunion with the governess (now 60-ish) whom he lusted after as a teenager. The psychology here often seems simplistic; so does Ballard's socio-historical view of the postwar decades. And the many sexual encounters are stronger on clinical detail than emotional impact. Still: sporadically involving and occasionally disturbing memoir/fiction from an always-interesting writer. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description HarperCollins, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002237717