In parched Port-la-Nouvelle in central Africa, Dr Mallory watches his clinic fail and dreams of discovering a third Nile to make the Sahara bloom. During the search for water, an ancient tree stump is uprooted by one of his bulldozers and water wells up, spreading until it becomes an enormous river. With the once arid land now abounding in birds and beasts, the obsessed Mallory forges up-river in an old car ferry, clashing with hostile factions as he tries to find the source of his own creation.
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J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. His 1984 bestseller Empire of the Sun won the Guardian Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His controversial novel Crash has recently been made into an equally controversial film by David Cronenberg. His most recent novels are Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes.From Publishers Weekly:
Part spellbinding story, part fable for our time, Ballard's new novel is a vividly cinematic but nightmarish vision of a corrupted world. Dr. Mallory has come to a backward, drought-plagued and poverty ridden African country to run a WHO clinic, but constant warfare between a ragged band of guerrillas and the local chief of police has caused the tribal residents to flee. By accident, Mallory uncovers a mysterious stream that soon becomes a swiftly flowing river, and he dreams of creating a green Sahara and "saving" the Third World. Naming the river after himself and obsessively identifying with it, he immediately finds himself in conflict with Dr. Sanger, a charlatan maker of TV documentaries, who believes that his "flattering revision of nature was an act of creation as significant as the original invention of the river." Mallory undergoes a sinister change of heart, acknowledging a self-destructive impulse whose origins in his past are only dimly described. Suddenly deciding he must destroy the river, he travels toward its source on a derelict ferry with a former guerrilla, a 12-year-old girl he names Noon, and who progresses in a matter of weeks from Stone Age primitivism to a fascination with technology. Mallory encounters terrifying dangers at every stage of his quest. The area surrounding the river, which at first seemed Edenic, becomes poisoned by the water's now miasmic influence, the people along its banks falling deathly ill with fever and starvation. Mallory himself slides into full-fledged dementia and delirium as he battles the guerrillas, the militia and the forces of nature. In a narrative filled with ironies, Ballard's prose is honed and supple, often flowering into vivid lyricism. His characters are larger than life, each carrying the destructive impulses that decimate civilization. Some readers may resist the unrelievedly dark, ominous atmosphere, a profoundly depressing nightmare that goes on a little too long, and find that Mallory is too much an opaque, unsympathetic character, almost a device. Ballard's scorn for technological "marvels" (the makers of TV documentaries are "the conmen and the carpetbaggers of the late 20th century") sometimes overpowers his storytelling skills, and the roots of Mallory's suicidal obsession are never made clear. Yet this is a mesmerizing tale by a master of the craft, one that resonates with dark implications for the future of humanity on this planet.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Ulverscroft Large Print Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. Bookseller Inventory # G0708984800I3N00
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 1988. Book Condition: Fair. Book is in large print This book has hardback covers. Ex-library, With usual stamps and markings, In fair condition, suitable as a study copy. No dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 2737569
Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux NY. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, thatâ€™ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Bookseller Inventory # 2560079134
Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux NY. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Bookseller Inventory # 2748995501
Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux NY, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0708984800 New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1988, 1st Ed, Hardcover. Very Good: Tight binding, sharp corners, bright copy. DJ: Very Good in mylar cover. Bookseller Inventory # 160324012
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Bookseller Inventory # GOR006503638
Book Description London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. 1983, 1983. First Edition. Near fine book in a near fine dustwrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 002622
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002675727