Cocaine Nights

Cocaine Nights - J.G. Ballard Before reading this, I read a lot of reviews about it and most of them said that yes, it starts well and the pace picks up a bit, but then, some 80 pages in, it starts to lose it. Like the author just ran out of fuel and decided to take the flight without it.

They were *sorta* right. Its beginning is really nice and you get the feeling that this is going to be such an amazing story and wow-how-much-fun-you're-gonna-get.. but then there's no enthusiasm anymore. It's just.. gone.

This Estrella De Mar place, or Residencia Costasol, these seem to be such fake places that even I wouldn't believe them. Yes, it's dystopian, and by definition it should have an unrealistic feel to it, but that's a bit too much. I mean, come on, it's just not possible!

On to Charles, the main character of this work. I felt like he believed them too much. And by them I mean anyone. When Paula told him anything that would counterfeit what he was previously thinking, he was happy to believe it. When Crawford told him he didn't set fire to the Hollinger's house, he believed him.

He was perfectly happy believing in anyone, so long they gave him the answer he was secretly hoping to hear. That was fine, for about 50 pages. But then I started thinking Charles was really dumb. I mean COME ON, didn' you see from the beginning that Crawford was a sick son of a bitch who just wanted to play his little games for ever and ever, and who kind of recruited other people that were as sick as him? Seriously? Read a book, get smarter, do something!

Crawford. I hated him. I really did. From the very beginning. Too confident, too much of a smart mouth.. And how everyone seemed to give him the prize for Saviour of the Year! Oooh, how cute.. not.

I'd have liked to see more of Frank (Charles' brother) in the story. He just doesn't appear, at all, and a confrontation between the two would have been a nice thing. Also, the ending was a bit .. well, lame. It lacked substance. It wasn't the worst ending, but surely Ballard could have come up with something better!

What I really did like about this book, actually what I like about Ballard, is the language usage. He is one fine writer, from the technical point of view. Maybe he doesn't have his story all set up, but his expressions are priceless and his jokes are so subtle and beautifully crafted! Really, really nice writing!

Here are some quotes I love:

Here on Costa del Sol nothing would ever happen again, and the people of the pueblos were already ghosts of themselves.

The faint scent of bath gel still clung to my skin, the perfume of my own strangulation that embraced me like a forbidden memory.

"Too well". She laughed at herself. "I sound mean, don't I? You'll be glad to hear that he's not a good lover."
"Why not?"
"He's not selfish enough. Selfish men make the best lovers. They're prepared to invest in the woman's pleasure so that they can collect an even bigger dividend for themselves."

Remember, white is the color of silence.

"Residencia Costasol is pure 1990s. Security rules. Everything is designed around an obsession with crime."
"I take it there isn't any?"
"None. Absolutely nothing. And Illicit thought never disturbs the peace."