The Kindness of Women

The Kindness of Women Ballard here writes a brilliant hybrid of autobiography and fiction The sequel to The Empire of the Sun this work puts his earlier account of a boy s experiences in occupied Shanghai in the context o

  • Title: The Kindness of Women
  • Author: J.G. Ballard
  • ISBN: 9780156471145
  • Page: 134
  • Format: Paperback
  • Ballard here writes a brilliant hybrid of autobiography and fiction The sequel to The Empire of the Sun, this work puts his earlier account of a boy s experiences in occupied Shanghai in the context of a lifetime Ballard s eye has never been cinematic, and his writing, especially in the love scenes, is a masterful blend of the raw and the tender.
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      Published :2018-08-07T12:09:25+00:00

    671 Comment

    • Manny says:

      This semi-autobiographical book contains one of the more bizarre and memorable seduction scenes I've come across. He's just met the woman, and he's standing in her kitchen. He asks her if she's married. She says she's divorced, but her ex-husband comes round every week to wash his clothes in her washing machine, and then they usually have sex."Do you have anything to wash?" she adds as an afterthought.He's only got a pocket handkerchief, but that turns out to be enough.

    • J.A. Carter-Winward says:

      Masterful storytelling, challenging our perceptions of convention.After reading a literary disaster (The WallCreeper by Nell Zink) I was over-the-top relieved to be introduced to a true storyteller in reading The Kindness of Women by J.G. Ballard. As I understand, this is the sequel to Empire of the Sun, which I did not read. I'd usually read the first one beforehand, but in this case, I was too eager to read Kindness to bother. This book is so rich. Ballard leaves nothing bare, painting and bui [...]

    • Darius says:

      Rather than 'The Kindness of Women', perhaps this novel should be called 'The Secretions of Women'. In a sequence of sexual encounters, described in forensic detail for no discernible reason, bodily fluids ooze from every orifice. These graphic and sometimes disgusting descriptions of the sexual life are soaked in sweat, blood and mucus. Ballard's women, with all their lumps and bumps, their spots and scars, are as clinically described as is the female cadaver that he dissects as a medical stude [...]

    • R. says:

      The Fifty Year Therapy SessionYou really can see how Ballard's life informed his fiction. What is High Rise if nothing more than a vertical Prisoner of War camp? What is The Unlimited Dream Company if nothing more than a prose jigsaw puzzle of Shepperton and environs put together through the kaleidoscope of a one-time LSD trip? The sex scenes drafted as Penthouse Letters from a deranged medical school dropout. This autobiographical novel is like the second disc in a special edition DVD set - the [...]

    • Daniel Levin says:

      Insight into an author, and the insane changes since WWII I found his well-known, semi-autobiographic "Empire of the Sun" so interesting, I had to read this follow-up. What makes this novel stand out is that the main character is both very normal (a shy middle class middle aged father living in a UK suburb) and very weird (a man who is involved in one bizarre adventure after another, which are often significant artistic events, with very original creative people). This contrast gives the novel a [...]

    • Stephen Durrant says:

      Ballard picks up in this book roughly where he left off in "The Empire of the Sun," although "The Kindness of Women" is more transparently autobiographical than the earlier work in which he took a few very significant novelistic freedoms. One powerful episode from Ballard's boyhood appears in both works and becomes an image of violence that will stalk Ballard throughout his post-Shanghai years: just at the end of the war, he encounters a group of Japanese soldiers at an otherwise deserted suburb [...]

    • Janice says:

      when i was in grammar school or jr. high school (middle school to some of you freaks) i read "the world according to garp" and my eyes were jerked wide open, revealing so suddenly that adulthood was a desolate place where i wasn't sure i ever wanted to be. there was a build-up of this feeling throughout the book, but i distinctly remember the exact scene where this warning exploded in my face, making everything crystal clear and filling me with a nihilism that took me decades to shake. this book [...]

    • Philip Craggs says:

      The sequel to 'Empire Of The Sun' continues Jim's story through adulthood. Being told in the first person (as opposed to 'Empire's' third) makes this feel even more autobiographical than 'Empire', especially as Ballard deals with the well-known elements of his own life - the death of his wife and his decision to raise his three daughters by himself. Ballard's medical training has always had a major influence on his writing (he dissects subjects like Jim autopsies a corpse) and he doesn't spare h [...]

    • carolime says:

      not as enjoyable as 'empire of the sun', provided you enjoyed empire of the sun. this book more closely examines the grown-up consciousnesses of "james", writer, and foil for author j.g. ballard. downright scandalous in the sexy parts, and quite realistic in terms of philosophical mumblings. what this book lacks (and what comprised my favorite parts of empire of the sun) are the lush descriptions of the asian world that housed young james- his internee camp at lunghua, his parents' residences in [...]

    • Jo says:

      I prefered this one to Empire of the Sun. I guess it's because Empire was confined to a limited area, mostly prisoner of war camps. This book scaled many years starting with the end of the war and ending when Jim was in his 50's. It was interesting to read about his move to England and how the war had affected him. I really felt for him in this book and followed his life with interest. I am glad that i read this one as i enjoyed it quite a lot.

    • Michelle says:

      What a weird book. I can't deny that Ballard is a good writer. However, not only did it feel like it was written purely because the author had success with the first one and wanted to keep gleaning that self-centered success as long as possible (with or without a story), it felt like "the kindness of women" really meant "all the sex I had with women who were not my wife."

    • Chrissie says:

      A sequel to Empire of the Sun! I din't know about this at all. Thanks Cassiel for bringing it to my attention.

    • Kent Winward says:

      Ballard is one of my favorite writers. He often gets grouped in science fiction for some unknown reason. A few books have impacted my life for years. This is one.

    • Rebecca says:

      A reluctant three stars. Would give it two, as I was confused by the first part, charmed by the second, and truly bored for the last half, but it was partially redeemed by some amazing passages or entire chapters that totally drew me in, made me eager to read on — however most of it felt like a struggle. I know there were deeper themes and emotions the author wanted to convey, but I don’t feel he did this with much skill. I wasn’t sold. Instead, I started counting the number of times he ov [...]

    • Belle says:

      I rushed to read this after reading Empire of the Sun and had high hopes for it. Unfortunately while for the most part the writing was to the same standard; the content wasn't to my liking at all. Also, the first person narrator wasn't as powerful as the third person narrator in the first book. What initially disappointed me was that the first couple of chapters go back to Shanghai and covered the same time and subject matter except the author had made numerous and significant changes in complet [...]

    • Evan Micheals says:

      Where does the fiction start and when does it stop? A fictionalized story of Ballard's life following Jim's release from the Internment Camp. Following the end of the War Jim sees other cling to the security of the camp (as the internees saw the role of the camp as protecting them from the hordes of hungry Chinese, and the Japanese as their protectors), himself preparing for mass murder as a Pilot of Nuclear Bombers, an Alcoholic Writer, struggling to be a sane parent to his three children. It i [...]

    • Lesley says:

      JG Ballard's "fictional autobiography" posed some problems for me. Jim, having left the "Empire of the Sun" (also classed as a fictional autobiography) tries to make sense of the Post War world he finds himself in. My problem is that it is so difficult to engage with a book that is so obviously autobiographical, and you can't sift the truth from the fiction.Jim is obsessed with two themes throughout the book: sex, and death. Sexual encounters (and there are a lot) are described in the most clini [...]

    • Martin Boyle says:

      This book is good in parts: fictionalised autobiography and a sequel to the excellent Empire of the Sun, it overlaps (and gives a different version) of the end of the war. It then lurches through a number of episodes in, what might most politely be described as, a misspent life.The novel (with one significant weakness) is well written, with excellent observation and sensitive descriptions. Some of the episodes are compelling, revealing the heart and soul of Jim and the impact that Shanghai had o [...]

    • B J Burton says:

      'Empire of the Sun' has long been one of my favourite books, telling the story of Jim, a young boy held for years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore. It was based on the author’s own wartime experiences, which explained how he could write so convincingly with a young boy’s voice.For years I’ve put off reading this book, the sequel, because I didn’t want to risk changing my positive view of the first book and its author. It goes without saying that 'The Kindness of Women' is [...]

    • port22 says:

      Autopsy takes weeks to complete, the dead body is kept in formaldehyde. During that time Jim falls in love with Miriam, who senses that she can't claim his complete attention. The dead woman's body sets Jim free, from the dreams of death.The details of the autopsy are medically correct and the slow pace of the dissection present constant uneasiness that alternates with love making scenes of Jim and Miriam.Jim's obsession with sex and death are the two main topics that interplay in the book.The d [...]

    • Matthew says:

      I usually stick to genre novels, so its a bit hard for me to know what to say about a book like this. Ostensibly, this is a novel, but it seems to me a work of non-fiction, a memoir by Ballard. It's advertised as a a sequel to Empire of the Sun, the first section actually rehashes those events, albeit with significant differences, and ends with Ballard participating in, and attending a screening of the film adaptation. There is also a section that seems to revisit the events of his novel Crash ( [...]

    • Marjet says:

      Het autobiografische ‘The Kindness of women’ van J.G. Ballard is een uitstekend boek en het vervolg op ‘Empire of the sun’, dat verfilmd werd door Steven Spielberg en gaat over de jonge Jim, die in WOII het jappenkamp in Shanghai overleefde.Getekend door zijn heftige jeugd, probeert de oudere Jim zijn leven in na-oorlogs Engeland op te bouwen. Hij studeert medicijnen in Cambridge, wordt vlieger in Canada en uiteindelijk schrijver.Ballard is een kroniekschrijver over het leven van de twee [...]

    • Alex Roberts says:

      J.G. Ballard's penchant for "auto-eroticism" has perhaps resulted in his signature notoriety- and there's certainly a smattering of vehicular shenanigans here- however, in The Kindness of Women, underneath and throughout, is an undeniable warmth and compassion for the characters, regardless of their foibles, uncertain motives or indiscretions. The grace and poetry of the language always keeps an element of humanity present, and though there is an overriding sense of ruefulness, a spirit of Survi [...]

    • J.C. Greenway says:

      So hit and miss, this one. Loved it in parts, but by the end I just thought it was a bit ridiculous. J. G. Ballard only has to meet a woman for her to want to sleep with him, even if it happens 40 years after that first meeting. His wife gives him permission to cheat with the living incarnation of the Swinging Sixties before promptly dying and allowing him to pursue the affair relatively guilt free. And for all the Kindness of the Women, he doesn't have it in him to reciprocate, displaying their [...]

    • Clive Warner says:

      This autobiographical story of JG Ballard's early life is a must-read for Brits who grew up in those times - basically the baby boomers. I love Ballard's superb command of English, his expert and innovative use of metaphor and simile, not to mention his willingness to relate intimate details of his life with women. Very highly recommended.jgballard/criticism/jgbI can seriously recommend this analysis of The Kindness of Women. What interests me is that I am currently working on a book set in the [...]

    • Rose says:

      The sequel to "Empire of the Sun" brings the autobiography of James G. Ballard to us, giving us what he felt was an important and healing aspect of his life. Healing from his boyhood experiences in China during WWII took many years.After "Empire", the sequel pales in comparison. Perhaps this is rightly so, as how much excitement and horror could one life bare? If I could choose only one book of Ballard's, it would be "Empire". It simply outshines "Kindness" in every respect.Ballard does entertai [...]

    • Al Young says:

      The Kindness of Women was written in 1991 as a sequel to his popular Empire of the Sun. It scores an impressive 4 1/2 stars on , but is not a book I would recommend to anyone, and didn't do much for me.Parts of it were good. It's autobiographical fiction, and the-life he grew up in- Japan- controlled Shanghai concentration camp in WW2 is scarier than anything he (or anyone) could imagine.So, I haven't picked up Ballard since this and The Drowned World, though I may give him another try one of th [...]

    • Dead John Williams says:

      If you have come across The Empire of the Sun, a movie by Stephen Spielberg, that was just one part of J G Ballard’s early life.The movie is true to the original book. This book is the second part of his autobiography.To be honest some of his books are weird, like Crash for example but I would never have believed that Crash was based on true events and real people!If you like biographies, either of these will show you inside a life that is really a mixture of the place and time he was born int [...]

    • Andrew says:

      Probably one of the more interesting of Ballard's novels, The Kindness of Women is sort of half-biography, half-novel. The most compelling parts of the book are undoubtedly the scenes detailed Ballard's experience in Shanghai before and during WW2- equally horrifying and inexplicably alluring. The book does get a bit long winded in the sections following the 60s and loses focus, but this book deserves 4 stars just for it's incredible picture of Shanghai alone.

    • Alexander says:

      If this is a sequal to Empire of the Sun, I preferred the first book. I have a number of Ballard's books (along side all his other books etc. left to me in his will by my late best friend), but I'm unsure which Ballard to have a go at next. Atrocity Exhibition I'm having great problems getting into. Hmmm, what to read? What to read?

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