J. G. Ballard's fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa. Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified forest whose area expands daily, affecting not only the physical environment but also its inhabitants.
“Beautifully rendered Ballard the poet in full ecstatic blast.” —Anthony Burgess
“Of all the unknown regions Ballard's imagination has opened up, this crystalline forest is the most haunting, with its golden orioles frozen in a lattice of jewels and men like conquistadores embalmed in diamond armour. The creation of the crystal world is something magical and not to be missed.” —The Guardian