I am determined to finish Crash by J G Ballard.

Crash was on a reading list for my dystopian fiction module in third year at university. I still haven’t read it. I graduated three years ago. Bad student.

I read enough to blag my way through the seminar. It’s not that I couldn’t be bothered. I simply couldn’t get to the end of it.

I’m not sure why Crash was listed on a syllabus for dystopian fiction – it’s not particularly dystopian. That was the overriding subject of the seminar as twenty disgruntled and disgusted students debated with our tutor.

The story features people who are sexually aroused by car crashes. I’m open to most perversions (whether personally or appreciating their appeal from an objective stand point) but I just feel ill reading Mr Ballard’s efforts. The language is visceral, explicit, brutal.

I mean, it’s gorgeous, immediate and powerful. It’s an intoxicating read and I love the writing. But I’m just struggling with the subject matter. The story doesn’t offer an insight into why this sexually excites the character. It just does. It’s not a view into the kink, it’s just the kink.

Maybe that’s why I’m struggling. I want to understand and I’m feeling excluded.

Bottom line, it’s powerful writing and I’m determined to finish it. There are book marks littering the well thumbed pages where I’ve failed to finish the book. The furthest I have gotten is page 45. I’ve seen the film adaptation with James Spader – that was accessible. So now I’m trying again. And I won’t stop until I’ve finished it. I’m not sure why I’m so determined but I’m going to go with it.

Maybe it’s Lit-student guilt, cultural obligation, smut obsession…? I’m not sure. But I will do this!

Oh god, it’s so beautifully visceral, but so disgusting…

L x


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