The kindness of women

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9780002237710: The kindness of women

'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.

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About the Author:

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.

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J.G. BALLARD
Published by HarperCollins (1991)
ISBN 10: 0002237717 ISBN 13: 9780002237710
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002237717

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