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High-Rise by [Ballard, J. G.]
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Length: 257 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Coming in March 2016 from acclaimed director Ben Wheatley, a major motion picture adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s compelling and unnerving tale of what happens when life in a luxury apartment building descends into chaos, starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss.

‘Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.’

Within the walls of a high-tech forty-storey high-rise, the residents are hell-bent on an orgy of sex and destruction, answering to primal urges that their utopian surroundings can’t satisfy. The high-rise is a would-be paradise turned dystopia, ruled by intimidation and violence, and, as the residents organize themselves for war, floor against floor, no one wants it to stop …


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1138 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (28 June 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008CBD38K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,822 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 163 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life In High-Rise Quickly Turns Into Chaso! 15 April 2016
By Killer Kitty 79 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I had a tough time deciding if I wanted to read this novel as I thought, "Why would people fight each other in a building over food and not leave?"
Well after reading many other J.G. Ballard novels I know the reason as well what events that kept people from living this high-rise.

First thing to understand with Ballard work is his characters become obsessed with environment around them by how it looks, smells or feels and his characters ten to have strange fetishes. So heads up this novel not might be for you if your not into this sort of thing as this isn't a straight forward story.

High-Rise starts with Dr. Robert Laing eating a dead dog and reflecting 3 months ago before the whole high-rise went into chaos.
The novel follows Dr. Laing along with film maker Richard Wilder and architect of high-rise Anthony Royal. These men both have working jobs and enjoy living the high-rise as it includes a shopping center, gym, swimming pool, school for the children, tennis court, bar. By having all these within high-rise it allows pretty much everyone not to leave since if they need food or anything outs it's within their apartment. However these causes problems right away with rich living on the top floor and throwing bottles or junk onto the resident cars angering those in mid and bottom levels. Middle and lower residents began causing damage to elevators, phones and trash upper class of high-rise.

And things get worst when both main characters and the other residents begin to act out in violence killing the residents pet dogs along with anyone outs who tries using the elevators. Next AC and trash shoot are out of order with residents throwing their trash bags or anything outs blocking front doors and stairways keeping anyone from getting out along with power going out setting the next stage of events about to happen. These 3 classes form gangs killing anyone over food, control of high-rise or just wanting to have fun. Both Wilder & Royal had mental breakdowns as Royal views his high-rise the battle grounds for his tribes and watching the residents act for show like animals in zoo cages. Wilder angered by how upper class has better stuff then his apartment room goes on rampage killing and stealing whatever he wants and becomes insane.

Near the end of the novel with food supplies going low, all pets are dead along with few remaining children. Everyone state of mind is gone with only Dr. Laing somewhat remaining control over his actions. With his sister getting ill he questions what's the purpose of staying here. Wilder reaches the top floor and kills Royal. As Laing follows blood trail to find Wilder naked and sitting on a pile of dead corpses as his throne Laing plans to leave the high-rise. The ending returns to Laing finish eating the dog and seeing people walking towards the high-rise most likely friends and family members wondering what happened to those they knew in that high-rise. Laing along with his sister leave the high-rise.

As I said before Ballard novels have characters who become obsessed with their environment. This can be seen in The Crystal World, The Drowned World and Concrete Island. High-Rise shows the dangerous of reckless behavior, obsession which destroys our minds and the effects of having everything we want in one place keeps us from ever leaving like being trapped in prison.

I enjoyed this novel a lot more then I did with Concrete Island. I also heard a lot of good reviews of film based on this novel but some people walked out not understanding it's plot or setting as they don't understand how J.G. Ballard novel works.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Flies for adults: A Hobbesian nightmare 25 March 2016
By Jessica Weil - Published on Amazon.com
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“Laing knew that he was far happier now than ever before, despite all the hazards of his life, the likelihood that he would die any time from hunger or assault. He was satisfied by his self-reliance, his ability to cope with the tasks of survival – foraging, keeping his wits about him, guarding his two women from any marauder who might want to use them for similar purposes.”

There is so much substance packed into this 207-page book.

The entire story takes place inside a 40-story luxury high-rise that houses about 2,000 people – an ostensibly homogenous group of high-income individuals. But as tensions begin to arise between the wealthy dog owners on the top floors and the families on the bottom floors, the residents of the high-rise divide into three groups, driven by power and self-interest. The hostilities gradually increase as they assimilate into their self-imposed hierarchies within the building and devolve into chaos and anarchy.

Ballard cleverly positions the high-rise as both a literal structure and a social structure. But as the characters devolve into a Hobbesian state of nature, the most disturbing thing of all is that they admit to feeling happier. Finally able to exercise their most devious impulses, they slowly reveal more genuine versions of themselves.

Clearly lots of fascinating themes to unpack here – and no surprise coming from J.G. Ballard. Like a Lord of the Flies for adults, this was a dark and twisted read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror story within a high rise building - a chilling social commentary on the effects of technology on the human psyche 15 August 2016
By Marie - Published on Amazon.com
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High Rise is a horrific novel about a building that begins to have a strange hold over its residents. The high rise is a virtual vertical city, with the higher levels representing higher social class status. The building has it’s own school, restaurants, pools, grocery store. The only reason for its’ residents to leave is to go to work. The residents begin to throw louder and wilder parties and begin leaving the building less and less often to go to work. Often if they do go out, they rest at work for a few hours and then return to the high rise, or they may get to their car and then turn right around and go back to the high rise. The parties turn to violence, vandalism, voyeurism, raiding, raping, murder and cannibalism with the ultimate goal being survival of the fittest. The characters become either checked out or fully engrossed in the “game” they are playing. Although there is some hope they will get caught, no one ever bothers to call the police or seek outside help. The men and women revert to hunter/gatherer roles. The women seem banded together by the end and it appears the women have come out on top, however, no one really is a winner in this book. Reading this novel from 1975 did not feel much like I had jumped back in time with the exception of the polaroid cameras and lack of cell phones/social media. This novel was many things at once: a horror story, a dystopian science fiction story, and most impressively a chilling social commentary. It is a commentary on the psychological effects of modernization and technological advancement. This advancement leads to an increasingly fragmented and socially insular society that yearns for more connectedness even if that connectedness is horrific. The writing was excellent and I look forward to watching the movie.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this amazing book 3 April 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this amazing book. I heard of Ballard for many years but never read any of his works. I am embarrassed to admit I was driven to read this because I read about the film coming out based on the book. But am thoroughly happy to admit I am totally in love with Ballard's symbolic writing. I feel like critics of this work are missing the point. It is more than just a commentary on the breakdown of our humanity ala Lord of the Flies. It is a statement not of where we might be going if we don't watch it, but rather where we already are. The high rise is real society. People who cannot escape hunger, violence, and classism is 100% real. It is not a warning, but a report on an observed contemporary experience. The characters might not be the same, but the issues are intact in many parts of current human "civilization." Yes, it might be icky that the residents are forced to eat domesticated animals, but guess what- that really happens. And for all the critics that state they could not 'suspend belief' that the residents wouldn't just leave of their own volition, the real people who cannot escape their violent and inhumane lives don't get the chance to 'suspend belief' either. But my favorite piece is the fearless way in which Ballard uses grotesque imagery of very human nastiness like smells and death, survival and sex to shock our minds into going to a place that fortunately most of his readers do not have to live through and experience. A place that is, however, very real for those living in violence, war, and fear on a daily basis. And reminds us that there is only three months time between our cozy home life and roasting our beloved family pet in the right (and entirly possible) circumstances of a broken society. What JGB book should I read next? And I shall anticipate the release of High Rise the movie starring my favorite actor, Luke Evans.
5.0 out of 5 stars High-density insanity. 7 January 2016
By Solari - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
“Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”

High-Rise is an stupendous book about how the increasing density of our cities could lead to mass insanity. The high-rise of the title is a forty-storied project with a thousand apartments that is inaugurated in London, a building designed to be completely autonomous, with supermarkets, stores, swimming pools, gyms and even schools.

As time goes by, the trivial everyday disputes because of noises, animals, children, parking spaces, elevator use; everything intensifies. The dwellers gather in tribes of close storys, with a particular rivalry among those who live in the top luxury floors and the cheaper ones on the bottom. It all leads to all out anarchy and floor wars, social collapse and beatings, invasions, deaths, rapes, gratuitous violence and cannibalism.

The book is full of “ballardian” ideas, such as how the cyclopean building is really built not to house the residents, but for them to hide in. Is the place where you can disconnect yourself from society and let loose your primal instincts of territory and ownership. Where your inner animal can be himself.

It is incredible how this isolation progresses in the book. In the beginning it is just an unconscious anger, leading to a kind of collective insanity and ending in total madness. The dwellers become animals, dominated by an instinct to sleep by day and go out at night to fight. The insanity is beautifully described as an instinctive “secret logic” that guides rational thought.

The book high-rise is a kind of mental skinner box, an isolated environment where Ballard analyzes the psychological changes human beings suffer as they live in an extremely dense environment. The building is sold as a architectural marvel, but something in this consumer paradise rewrites the very organization of the brain. One of the best books I have ever read. Highly recommended.