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J G Ballard: Running Wild

It’s only short, barely seventy pages even with Janet Woolley’s illustrations, but it is one of the great indictments of Thatcherism and the violence lying only partially hidden in our society. One morning the adult residents of the very exclusive Pangbourne estate in West London are all massacred and their children abducted. The book is a report, after the event, by a psychiatric adviser to the police. In his report, he speculates on the possible culprits – a lone nut, international terrorists, a misdirected military exercise, organized crime, the domestic staff but he does not guess at the very frightening truth. As he has done in other books, Ballard looks at the chinks in the armour of the very rich but the psychiatrist does not initially find any real clues. Only when one of the children reappears, do more clues emerge. The child that reappears is again kidnapped and the psychiatrist finally comes to realise what happened. You’ll have to read the book to find the truth but, basically, Margaret Thatcher is to blame.

Publishing history

First published 1988 by Hutchinson