Audiobook Review: High Rise by J.G. Ballard

Highrise

Source: Purchased
Publisher: Audible Studios
Series: 
Narrator: Tom Hiddleston
Edition: Audiobook,  6 Hours  34 Minutes
Genre: Dystopian
Purchase: Amazon *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5 Stars

When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

If I had to describe what listening to High-Rise felt like, I’d say skydiving…with a near death experience. We get our start towards the end, where our parachute isn’t opening and we’re getting too low, and then we get a flash those moments of ascending, joy, turbulence, terror, and the finally the long long fall into something that could either kill you…or change you.

With the new movie coming out, i knew I wanted to read this one BEFORE I let myself watch anything and ruin it for me…it just so happens that Tom Hiddleston reads the audible audio and that was all the extra push I needed. High Rise is different from your average dystiopian. It’s not so much that people are fighting against a literal authority, so much as they are fighting what the building represented. We follow three characters Robert Lang (doctor), Wilder (film maker), and Royal (the owner of the high-rise) as they each deal with the high-rises growing problems and struggle to keep their standing within it. The problems within the high-rise start small, with a few power outages or broken trash chutes…but pretty soon people are finding reasons not to leave the building, and aggression becomes the norm. The decent in to chaos happens quickly, and the submission to the on coming storm is nearly universal. Basically what I’m getting at is, nearly everyone goes bat-shit crazy and they actually enjoy the chaos it’s brought to their once lavish apartments. It was pretty cool to note the progress in the change of social classes as well as gender differences, and over time they begin to subtly shift.

After listening to this I am not convinced that Tom Hiddleston needs to make a secondary career out of being a narrator. For those who don’t know, he’s pretty good doing voice work and he really taps into that here. Plus, his voice is really nice to listen to…even when he’s saying the craziest things.

High Rise is an excellent read! It’s really fast paced and full of chilling moments that refuse to let you press pause. It’s full on conflicting emotions like excitement and disgust, the want to improve things and see how far they fall. It’s one gigantic mess of human nature as it rises, falls, and changes.

4 stars

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