Title: The Day of Creation

Author: J. G. Ballard

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 288

Rating: 3.5/5

This book isn’t Ballard’s best, but I do think that it’s the kind of book that only Ballard could have written.

Loosely speaking, the plot follows a doctor who went to Africa to search for water, or at least that’s what we’re told. He finds himself in the middle of a war between rebels and officials and is lucky not to get shot in the head in the opening pages of the novel.

The plot meanders onwards from there, but it’s more of a close look at our characters and the situation they find themselves in, an ode to war from a man who’d seen too much of it after being interned in Singapore as a child. It can be pretty bleak at times, but it also has a dry humour to it, though you usually have to be looking for it if you want to find it.

My edition had a little blurb on it that talked about it being similar to a Graham Greene novel, and I think that’s a fair comparison. Greene excelled at books like these, which combine a close look at the human factor with some serious geo-political stuff that can teach us more about the world in which we live.

And yet despite all of that, I just couldn’t get fully on-board with it. Ballard is a skilled writer and a decent story teller, but this one just didn’t land for me. Maybe it’s because I’m such a big Graham Greene fan, and so I felt almost as though I’d already read it. It was just okay.

Learn more about The Day of Creation.