The fascinating, and largely autobiographical, sequel to J. G. Ballard’s prize-winning Empire of the Sun, that follows Jim to post-war England. The Kindness of Women continues the story of the boy whose life in Japanese-occupied Shaghai was described so memorably in Empire of the Sun, it sets those traumatic events within the context of a lifetime as we follow the narrator, Jim, to England and suburban Shepperton after the war.
Jim tries and fails to find stability as a medical student at Cambridge and a trainee RAF pilot in Canada. Then, after settling happily into family life, his world is ripped apart by domestic tragedy. He plunges into the maelstrom of the 1960s, an instigator and subject of every aspect of cultural, social, and sexual revolution. All this and much more, we see as the attempt of a bruised mind to make sense of the upheaval around it.
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 best seller, 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 memoir Miracles of Life was published in 2008. J. G. Ballard died in 2009.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Possibly, but not for me.
Did Steven Pacey do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?
The reader did a good job keeping the story going as best as possible.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed Empire of the Sun, High Rise and The Concrete Island and so came to this novel with high expectations and settled in for an enjoyable read. However, I was to be very disappointed this time. I found the whole experience to be one of one third a repeat of Empire of the Sun. One third unnecessarily graphic descriptions of sexual experiences (maybe I'm a prude, but I would rather use my own imagination thank you!) and I didn't complete the last third of the novel.It would not put me off trying another novel by J.G.Ballard, but I was very close to sending this one back! Overall - just not that interesting.
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