Empire of the Sun

J. G. Ballard
Illustrated by Tim Laing
Introduced by William Boyd

The harrowing story of a British boy’s four-year ordeal in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War, based on the author’s own wartime experiences. The first illustrated edition, featuring images by award-winning artist Tim Laing.

In the author’s own words, Empire of the Sun ‘draws on my experiences in Shanghai … and in Lunghua CAC [Civilian Assembly Centre] where I was interned from 1942–5’. The protagonist, Jim, takes Ballard’s first name and, like the author, is born in Shanghai to British parents. Aged only 11 when he is separated from his family during the Japanese takeover, he cycles through the Shanghai streets in search of his parents, scavenging food and sleeping in the beds of vanished families. While roaming the creeks and waste tips of Nantao, he finds a dubious guardian in Basie, a shrewd American hustler, but convinced that his parents are in a prison camp, his only hope lies in surrender to the Japanese, and four brutal years in a civilian internment camp.

‘A remarkable journey into the mind of a growing boy’ 
  1. Sunday Times

Superbly introduced by the celebrated novelist William Boyd, Empire of the Sun illuminates Ballard’s entire body of work, revealing the roots of his nightmarish fiction (wrecked planes, empty swimming pools and tortured physicians) and his obsession with the effects of alienation and deprivation. As Boyd notes, it is Ballard’s ‘entrancing poetry’ that transmutes his own childhood trauma into something extraordinary, a stark world in which terror and beauty are enmeshed.

‘Nothing is as secure as we like to think it is’ 
  1. J. G. Ballard

Three-quarter bound in cloth with a printed Modigliani paper front board blocked 

Set in Minion with Roos Initials display

304 pages

Frontispiece and 8 integrated black & white illustrations

1 map

Plain slipcase

˝ x 6¼˝

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