Title: High Rise
Author: J. G. Ballard
Page Count: 258
This book is interesting because it’s so strange. It’s basically a sort of dystopian satire from the mid-70s that takes place within the confines of a huge high rise block that houses 2,000 people, as well as swimming pools, supermarkets and other necessities of modern life.
The problem is that things start to go wrong with both the building itself and with the social structure within it. This is compounded by the fact that different classes live on different floors, with the very rich at the top and the very poor at the bottom, with a middle class forming a barrier of sorts between the two.
Soon, a kind of tribal war breaks out between the different floors, and we watch what happens as society crumbles around them. At the same time, it’s pretty interesting because there’s almost a surreal element in which the residents of the high rise try to keep everything hidden and internal. Sure, they stop going to work, but they also try to stop the police from coming inside.
The end result is kind of like a cross between Lord of the Flies and 1984, but with a more modern twist. Even though it’s getting on for 50 years old, it’s arguably more relevant now than it was when it was first published, and that’s a sign of quality and a contemporary classic in my book. I’d recommend it for sure, and maybe re-read it.