J.G. BALLARD: QUOTES
Edited by V. Vale and Mike Ryan
(RE/Search, 415 pages)
Perhaps the best counterculture bathroom reader yet to be published, this sliced-and-diced collection offers bits of wisdom and weirdness proffered by J.G. Ballard in various interviews and in his own work. Quotes is tidily organized, with chapter divisions (such as "Psychopathology and Death") further parsed into subchapters ("Car Crash" and "Nuclear Bombs"). Within each of these divisions, Ballard holds forth in his own inimitable style; only from the man capable of writing both Empire of the Sun and Crash would you find statements as loopy as "There isn't a single fish alive on the entire planet" and as scathing as "Someone has been shitting in Duchamp's urinal." Quotes is only digestible in small doses, as the disconnection between items, despite the tight categorizations, is jarring. But Ballard is usually best served a little at a time, anyway.