Ballard once again explores the netherworld of gated communities this time in Super-Cannes the Eden-Olympia of Business Parks where the elite have gathered to realize their full potential. It is here that work becomes leisure and the outside world and all it’s problems are removed from daily existence. It truly is paradise looking down from on high.
Ballard I think has tapped into that slightly uneasy feeling or perhaps the tacit arrangement that the elite has with the underprivileged masses surrounding the enclaves of wealth (Barbed wire wealthy communities for instance in many Third World countries)
It’s to some degree a Heart of Darkness for the new Millennium with Ballard’s standard slightly detached and alienated protagonist delving beneath the glittering surface and attempting to understand why a formerly trusted Resident Doctor (caregiver) had embarked on a shooting spree that left 6 elite members of the business park dead.
Ballard has a knack for writing in an almost dreamlike narcotic state yet the novel is structured along very basic Murder Mystery novelistic lines with a detective trying to unravel the facts. However it’s very loosely structured. He pays attention to the details of the murders but in contrasting fashion when you’re reading the novel the details become almost irrelevant.
It’s a mind game played out by executives who having removed all sense of danger from their lives have lost their moral compass. Their work itself suffers and Wilder Penrose the Park’s resident psychologist steps in to revive the flagging work ethic by devising a psychological scheme which will involve interactions between the elite and the mostly immigrant and criminal class in the town below. Those interactions suffice to say do not involve charitable deeds.
Thought provoking novel which connects on many levels and continues the theme he first explored in “Cocaine Nights”
Next up “Ordinary Wolves” by “Seth Kantner”. Raved about by the Publishers rep and also recommended by a Reviewer in Vancouver Sun I think who reviewed the 2005 Governor’s General award winning novel A Perfect Night to Go to China by David Gilmour mostly unfavorably as it turns out.