Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton: An Autobiography

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9780007270729: Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton: An Autobiography

'Miracles of Life' opens and closes in Shanghai, the city where J.G.Ballard was born, and where he spent the most of the Second World War interned with his family in a Japanese concentration camp. In the intervening chapters Ballard creates a memoir that is both an enthralling narrative and a detailed examination of the events which would profoundly influence his work. Beginning with his early childhood spent exploring the vibrant surroundings of pre-war Shanghai, Ballard charts the course of his remarkable life from the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of the Lunghua Camp to his return to a Britain physically and psychologically crippled by war. He explores his subsequent involvement in the dramatic social changes of the 1960s, and the adjustments to life following the premature death of his wife. In prose displaying his characteristic precision and eye for detail, Ballard recounts the experiences which would fundamentally shape his writing, while simultaneously providing an striking social analysis of the fragmented post-war Britain that lies behind so many of his novels. 'Miracles of Life' is an utterly captivating account of an extraordinary writer's extraordinary life.

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About the Author:

J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, The Drowned World, in 1961. His 1984 bestseller 'Empire of the Sun' won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His most recent novel is 'Kingdom Come', published in 2006.

Review:

'A particular delight of this lyrical autobiography lies in spotting the landscapes and events that appear subtly reconfigured, in Ballard's fiction.' Observer 'Critics' Picks for 2008' 'The long--awaited memoirs of one of the most interesting British writers.' Sunday Times 'Picks for 2008' 'This book should make yet more converts to a cause that Ballard's devotees have been pleading for years: that here, bafflingly unacknowledged, has been one of the greatest and sharpest imaginations at work in literature.' Independent on Sunday 'Unobtrusively well--written!and fascinating.' Literary Review 'The origins of this extraordinary and wonderful writer are now set out in this pellucid, forgiving, tranquil autobiography...this is a remarkable autobiography, treating events which most of us can barely imagine with tranquil dignity and exactness...Ballard has carried out Matthew Arnold's imprecation to "see life steadily and see it whole". This is an unforgettable farewell.' The Spectator 'Brilliant and mesmerising...this wonderful, clear-sighted autobiography...has a wisdom and depth that makes you long to hug the author and say '"Thank you" and wish him well.' Daily Mail 'What this brief, modest and occasionally shattering book only glances at is the extraordinary body of work that has flowed from this remarkable life...fascinating..."Miracles of Life" also tells quite another story, unconscious and inadvertent, but finally brave in a way that elevates it to a level of greatness.' The Observer 'Exquisitely written..."Miracles of Life", a subtle, restlessly enquiring work of touching humanity, is Ballard's crowning achievement.' Financial Times 'A jewel...as a writer, he can simply take the breath away.' The Independent 'J.G. Ballard's memoir may be short but it is long on compassion, humour and insight...it is infused with a tremendous generosity of spirit.' Tatler 'His prose has clarity and concision. He is mordant and brutally direct...unexpected and funny...fascinating stuff...the overwhelming impression gained is of the man's great generosity.' GQ 'The greatest of living English writers!a superb memoir.' Mail on Sunday 'What a wonderful book. If there's a better memoir by a contemporary English writer, I don't know it.' Daily Telegraph 'Fascinating!amazingly lucid!a memoir that effortlessly combines emotional frankness with artistic insight.' The Guardian 'Essential reading for fans.' New Statesman

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