J G Ballard’s new novel is as the title implies a psychopathic tour-de-force, in which the author’s genius for suspense, powerful atmospherics and evocation of place is displayed with consummate skill.
For the past thirty years Ballard has remained the most original voice in English fiction, always eschewing the easy stage-props of his contemporaries, and creating a landscape which is uniquely his own. Running Wild is no exception to his futuristic oeuvre. The sleepy little housing estate known as Pangbourne Village is a depersonalised, television-monitored enclave exclusively for the rich. ‘Secure behind their high walls and surveillance cameras, these estates in effect constitute a chain of closed communities whose lifelines run directly along the M4 to the offices and consulting rooms, restaurants and private clinics of central London.’
The book takes the form of extracts from the Forensic Diaries of Dr Richard Greville, Deputy Psychiatric Adviser, Metropolitan Police, who is called to investigate the Pangbourne Massacre in which thirty-two adults are inexplicably murdered, and the thirteen children resident on the estate appear to have been abducted.
It is the