Miracles of Life : Shanghai to Shepperton - An Autobiography
J. G. Ballard was, for over fifty years, one of this country's most significant writers. Beginning with the events that inspired his classic novel, 'Empire of the Sun', this revelatory autobiography charts the course of his astonishing life. 'Miracles of Life' takes us from the vibrant surroundings of pre-war Shanghai, to the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of Lunghua Camp, to Ballard's arrival in a devastated Britain. Ballard recounts his first attempts at fiction and his part in the social and artistic revolutions of the 60s. He describes his friendships with figures as diverse as Kingsley Amis, Michael Moorcock and Eduardo Paolozzi alongside recollections of his domestic life in Shepperton - raising three children as a single father following the unexpected and premature death of his wife. 'Miracles of Life' is both a captivating narrative of the experiences that have shaped this extraordinary writer's works, his distinctive outlook and his original visions of the future, and is also an account of a remarkable life. This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard's works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Ali Smith, Hari Kunzru, Neil Gaiman and Martin Amis) and brand-new cover designs.
Shortlisted for Galaxy British Book Awards: Tesco Biography of the Year 2009.
'In some cases rave reviews can be wholly sincere. Mr. Ballard, you are wonderful.' Sunday Times 'The origins of this extraordinary and wonderful writer are now set out in this pellucid, forgiving, tranquil autobiography...this is a remarkable autobiography, treating events which most of us can barely imagine with tranquil dignity and exactness...an unforgettable farewell.' Spectator 'Brilliant and mesmerising...this wonderful, clear-sighted autobiography...has a wisdom and depth that makes you long to hug the author and say '"Thank you" and wish him well.' Daily Mail 'What this brief, modest and occasionally shattering book only glances at is the extraordinary body of work that has flowed from this remarkable life...fascinating..."Miracles of Life" also tells quite another story, unconscious and inadvertent, but finally brave in a way that elevates it to a level of greatness.' Observer 'Exquisitely written..."Miracles of Life", a subtle, restlessly enquiring work of touching humanity, is Ballard's crowning achievement.' Financial Times 'A jewel...as a writer, he can simply take the breath away.' Independent 'Written in characteristic spare direct prose!if this is to be his final book, it is a worthy one, both as the story of a remarkable life and of an outsider trying to make sense of postwar Britain.' The Times 'It's like listening to a deliciously worldly raconteur late at night as the level of the spirits bottle gradually drops; only the spare, unostentatious elegance and bite of the prose make you sit up with a start from time to time and remember that these pungent anecdotes are bing told by a leading novelist.' Sunday Times 'A modest account of an unusual and intensely lived life...there is a peculiar beauty to the work produced during a final illness.' Sunday Telegraph 'J.G. Ballard's memoir may be short but it is long on compassion, humour and insight...it is infused with a tremendous generosity of spirit.' Tatler 'A particular delight of this lyrical autobiography lies in spotting the landscapes and events that appear subtly reconfigured, in Ballard's fiction.' Observer 'The long-awaited memoirs of one of the most interesting British writers.' Sunday Times 'His prose has clarity and concision. He is mordant and brutally direct...unexpected and funny...fascinating stuff...the overwhelming impression gained is of the man's great generosity.' GQ Praise for J.G.Ballard: 'There are those (and I am among them) who would back Ballard as Britain's number one living novelist' John Sutherland, Sunday Times 'One of the brightest stars in post-war fiction' Kingsley Amis
J.G. Ballard was born in 1930 in Shanghai, where his father was a businessman. After internment in a civilian prison camp, he and his family returned to England in 1946. He published his first novel, 'The Drowned World', in 1961. His 1984 bestseller 'Empire of the Sun' won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was later filmed by Steven Spielberg. His most recent novel is 'Kingdom Come', published in 2006.