Ballard Mixes Semen and Car Crashes for a Sexual Stew of a Novel

crashJ.G. Ballard’s novel Crash revolves around a form of symphorophilia—a sexual arousal from staging and watching a disaster. In this case, the main characters get their sexual kicks from watching or performing in car crashes. While this sexual fetish sounds straight out of Chuck Palahniuk novel, it lacks his sense of humor and transcends into new levels of graphic imagery.

The narrator, James Ballard (distractingly named after the author), meets car crash sexual enthusiast Dr. Robert Vaughan after being involved in a car crash of his own. He quickly picks up Vaughan’s sexual predilections and rides around with him, sexing in crashed cars and so forth. But Vaughan’s addiction continues to reach new levels of destruction as he tries to stage his ideal death as a head-on collision with Elizabeth Taylor.

The most remarkable thing about this novel is that Ballard, the author, uses blatantly graphic language to convey all the sexual acts the characters perform. He doesn’t try to mask any of the sexuality in the book with euphemisms as is often found in literature, but instead calls a penis a penis (and many other more scientific terms for areas of the body). Yet, after the initial shock of reading about such sexual perversions (and all the semen!), it becomes almost tedious and dull to read. You get bored reading about their car crashes and sex in the ultimate form of desensitization.

This is not a novel with many likable characters. Ballard remains the most likable as he slowly grows terrified of Vaughan’s increasingly dangerous tactics. And his slow boil of homosexual attraction to Vaughan becomes more fascinating than his disturbing relationship with his wife, who even helps fuel his attraction to Vaughan.

Crash’s inclusion on The List can only be ascribed to the sensationalism of the writing and the controversiality it inspired. I can certainly say I’ve never read a book quite like this (although Palahniuk’s Snuff comes pretty close); and I can safely say I’ll be glad not read another one like it. If you do attempt this novel, just be warned that you won’t want to have sex for a few weeks after reading it.

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: