Concrete Island pays twisted homage to Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Newly reissued with an introduction from Neil Gaiman.
On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament soon turns into horror as Maitland—a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe—realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory.
through the crash barrier
Soon after three o’clock on the afternoon of April 22nd 1973, a 35-year-old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central...
Praise for Concrete Island
"A vision in both style and substance. The literary equivalent of Salvador Dali or Max Ernst."—The Washington Post Book World
"This is the excellent stuff of classic castaway adventure, stiffened here by contemporary overtones that call into question social values."—San Francisco Chronicle
“Ballard's novels are complex, obsessive, frequently poetic, and always disquieting chronicles of nature rebelling against humans, of the survival of barbarism in a world of mechanical efficiency, of ethropy, anomie, breakdown, ruin....The blasted landscapes that his characters inhabit are both external settings and states of mind.”—Luc Sante