J G Ballards Concrete Island Is Entry into Island an Accident or Work of Fate
Concrete Island forms the second book in the JG Ballard’s thematic trilogy novels based on the urban disaster in England. This novel is followed by “High-Rise” and preceded by “Crash”. As the name implies, the book is about a Concrete island that is not a natural island but a manmade one formed by the intersection of three speeding motorways. This manmade island is a triangular section of land and is as isolated as a geographical island. The concrete island virtually traps the protagonist, the wealthy architect Maitland and stops every means of escape. The island is compared to a living thing that changes its form like a chameleon. It first gets hold of his car wrecking it up so that his one escape means gets destroyed and later grasps him, claws at him and forbids him to leave it until he himself has an upper hand on the island and thaw all its moves with the help of his intelligence and instinct. Maitland finds himself trapped in this triangular piece of land while life goes on as usual in that metro city. People even see him from their passing cars but mistake him for a bummer and refuses to stop. But, as the protagonist becomes more and more acquainted with the forgotten piece of landscape, he feels more comfortable living there, until he finds that the island is the mirror image of his self, “I am the island” (pg. 10-11) and he decides to continue to stay. There are various factors that made Maitland stay on on the concrete island. Let’s explore some of them.Maitland is a thirty-plus modern-day Robinson Crusoe who is stuck in an island of concrete with no means of escape. He is a rich architect living a fast and furious life who has a wife along with a mistress, a high profile job and all the luxuries that life can give him but no time for himself.He is basically running off from one appointment to the other with little time for a break, speeding up his vehicle, until destiny puts a comma on his life and he gets a chance to evaluate his inner self and take destiny in his own hands by deciding to stay on in the void created by humans even when the chance to escape is presented to him.