Unlimited Dream Company by J.G. Ballard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I find it difficult to know how to talk about this book. I loved the vibrant writing and surreal story, but could not recommend this to 95% of the readers I know.
Why? Well, you see... Blake is a bit of a loser. He steals a plane and crashes it into the Thames at Shepperton, and that's when everything goes a bit strange. He develops strong desires for everyone and everything in the town (see 95% comment earlier). Just like in dreams, relationships have no consequences, people can fly and commune with the sea and forest creatures. Blake becomes like a pagan dream god - even spreading his semen around grows a tropical rainforest.
And yes, I said the word semen. Trust me, if you can't take it the two times in this review, this is not the book for you.
But maybe you are a reader who can push aside all of your senses of moral violation to enjoy the writing, the description, the dreamy world of this book. If you can, you should. I couldn't put it down. The aerial wedding scene is particularly memorable.
"When they had gone, I walked alone through the late afternoon, my damp suit covered with a coat of rainbows, a confetti of petals, celebrating my marriage with the meadow."
Other authors this reminds me of: Michel Houellebecq is the first one to come to mind. A little squeeze of the little Thomas Pynchon I've read. Maybe a little bit of the visceral imagery of Catherynne Valente - that squirmy edge between disturbing and beautiful.
Other things in general: The Birds, the story by Daphne du Maurier and made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. There are multiple scenes in this filled by birds, and even if Ballard hasn't written it to be foreboding, I kept picturing that setting intertwined. And in this one scene where the birds are dropping from the sky or popping out of his body - wow.
It also reminds me of the movie Pleasantville, only to an extreme.