The Crystal World

  • by J. G. Ballard
  • Narrated by Sean Barrett
  • 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From J.G. Ballard, author of Crash and Cocaine Nights comes his extraordinary vision of an African forest that turns all in its path to crystal.
Through a 'leaking' of time, the West African jungle starts to crystallize. Trees are metamorphosed into enormous jewels. Crocodiles encased in second glittering skins lurch down the river. Pythons with huge blind gemstone eyes rear in heraldic poses.
Fearing this transformation as a herald of the apocalypse, most flee the area in terror, afraid to face a catastrophe they cannot understand. But some, dazzled and strangely entranced, remain to drift through this dreamworld forest. Travelling through this gilded land, a doctor tries to resist its strange allure in pursuit of his ex-mistress, while a tribe of lepers search for Paradise...
In this tour de force of the imagination, Ballard transports the listener into one of his most unforgettable landscapes.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Drowned World revisited

I can only say thank goodness this was not the first Ballard book I ever read. I'd never have picked up another book by this author again if it had been. This is a love story trying not to be. No sooner has Sanders met Louise than he's trying to seduce her and Susanne his old love who is by then married. It seems to me that Ballard writes about himself and feels the need to dominate everyone around him and especially women. In this book Sanders is clearly Ballard. If you've read 'Drowned World' then don't read this one. This is, in essence, a poor man's Drowned World and nothing like as good. It is intriguing and there is some action, but overall a disappointment. There are holes in the plot and it seems to me that Ballard had an idea but didn't think it through properly before committing it to paper. The plot is full of inconstencies and pays no attention to the laws of physics. If you do read this then you'll see what I mean.
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- Rose

A strange and beautiful journey

I’ve recently started reading/listening my way through JG Ballard’s novels, and this one is my favourites so far. There is a plot, but it’s not too important. Instead, Ballard focuses on the journey through a beautiful, eery African jungle that is being transformed into crystal. Jewels adorn every branch and shine in the eyes of snakes. The crystallisation doesn’t so much represent death or decay, as transformation. Sean Barrett has a very deep, resonant voice that really brought the prose to life. This might not be for everyone, but I loved it – it was like listening to a long, beautiful and fascinating poem.
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- Jack87

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios