By Cath Murphy
“Crash” by JG Ballard
It didn’t start well. The reader’s report was short and to the point:
‘This author is beyond psychiatric help.’
Luckily for the rest of us, Ballard’s publisher did not agree. Crash came out in 1973 to universal outrage/acclaim and has been polarizing readers ever since. It’s not surprising because Crash – which tells the story of scientist Vaughn and his sexual obsession with death by automobile – is a potent mixture. Taken at face value, the book is a landscape of semen splattered dashboards and women having orgasms in that split second before their face hits the windshield. Fap-material, you might say, and that is the way the establishment viewed it. Various attempts have been made to ban it, collars have become tight and hot, letters have been written to august organs predicting the End of Times— or at the very least— sex in the streets if Crash stays on the shelves for one second longer.
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