KINGDOM COME by J.G. Ballard
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Ballard (1930–2009) creates a world reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange and V for Vendetta in this novel of suburban fascism.

 At the heart of the narrative is the Brooklands Metro-Centre Mall, a monstrosity that feeds excess and consumerism. In a recent incident, not atypical of the violence that pervades this vision of modern British life, a man has been shot and killed at the mall. Held for his murder is Duncan Christie, a mental patient who was on day release when the incident occurred. This seems to be a cut-and-dried case, even to Richard Pearson, narrator and son of the victim, but a few anomalies crop up. For example, three witnesses emerge who claim that Christie was at one of the entrances to the mall at the time of the shooting…and these witnesses just happen to be Christie’s physician, his psychiatrist and one of his former teachers. Pearson is not wrong in assuming this to be overly coincidental. In addition to the loss of his father, Pearson has other problems, for he has recently lost his job, pushed out of his position in an ad agency by his own wife. Pearson watches with some amazement the rise of quasi-fascist elements in this quasi-suburban setting that’s starting to create its own reality, for “leafy Surrey” is no longer a suburb of London but rather a suburb of Heathrow. Troops dressed in St. George’s shirts march in the streets, encouraging hooliganism and attacks against immigrant businesses; riots break out in sports arenas; and Pearson finds out his father might have had sympathies with the brown-shirted St. George’s movement.

Ballard writes brilliantly about the nightmarish underside of modern life, and this novel makes us poignantly aware of the loss of his voice. 

Pub Date: March 5th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-393-08178-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Liveright/Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2012


FictionHOPE: A TRAGEDY by Shalom Auslander
by Shalom Auslander
FictionBLASPHEMY by Sherman Alexie
by Sherman Alexie
FictionKINGDOM COME by J.G. Ballard
by J.G. Ballard
FictionLAZARUS IS DEAD by Richard Beard
by Richard Beard
FictionTELEGRAPH AVENUE by Michael Chabon
by Michael Chabon


FictionMILLENNIUM PEOPLE by J.G. Ballard
by J.G. Ballard
FictionSUPER-CANNES by J.G. Ballard
by J.G. Ballard
FictionCOCAINE NIGHTS by J.G. Ballard
by J.G. Ballard


FictionREWIRED by James Patrick Kelly
by James Patrick Kelly
FictionTHE WAY INN by Will Wiles
by Will Wiles
IndieSTATE OF MIND by Sven Michael Davison
by Sven Michael Davison