As the high rise falls apart in terms of infrastructure with the water, lifts and power all becoming intermittent the lives of those inside also falls apart. Each floor becomes tribal hunting in groups to secure food and luxuries from those who live around them. The death, a fall from the top floor of a businessman, marks a watershed where violence is acceptable.
The cast of characters that Ballard describes have to question themselves as they start the slide back into a primeval state. Some fade quickly without the strength to defend themselves whereas others emerge as leaders.
The disturbing nature of the story is nnot just how quickly man can turn on man but the manner in which the residents are so determined not to break the world they are living in that external influences are kept at bay.
Ballard makes you think. As you move through a modern landscape surrounded by the everyday objects he uses as a backdrop you are challenged to think about the chances of his fiction becoming fact. In High Rise those chances are slightly more than extremely remote and as a result the book leaves you disturbed but provoked.
A review will come soon…