Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.
So begins JG Ballard’s High Rise.
This is a hard book. I knew it was a hard book from the other reviews I had read, but this is a hard book. The first half or two-thirds was thoroughly interesting. But the closer you get to the end, the more horrifying it becomes. But I couldn’t put it down.
The characters are strangely compelling, and you just have to know what happens to them. Seeing them go insane is a completely different experience than I had ever had with a book. The writing is so brilliant and wonderful, that you hardly notice they are going insane until the climax where it hits you full in the face. And most terrifying of all, during some part of the book, you find yourself rooting for them.
Everyone who picks up this book thinks they know what they are getting into with that opening line. I though I knew what I was getting into. But I was oh, so wrong. It is much more horrifying and real than I could have ever imagined.
No spoilers, but the last two or three chapters may have been the worst and best, most horrifying part of the book. The ending was completely unexpected and totally shocked me.
Although this is one of the most difficult reads in all of creation, I cannot recommend this book enough. When a book gets under your skin like this, when it leaves an impression like this, you know it is a good book.
Side note, I would recommend listening to the audiobook. Not just because it is read to you in the beautiful voice of Tom Hiddleston (although that is a plus), but when I read the free preview on Goodreads, I had trouble. It is a hard book to read. Normally I hate being read to (even by my favorite actors) but with this book it seemed to work. And I doubt I could have read this book by myself.
Overall, a very tough read, but worth it… I think.
Click here for a free link to the audiobook.
I am currently reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.