Millennium People

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First edition (publ. Flamingo)

Millennium People is a novel by J. G. Ballard published in 2003.[1] The novel is the story of a rebellion in the middle classes in an enclave of Greater London.


When a bomb explodes on a baggage carousel at Heathrow Airport, killing his ex-wife, David Markham[2] tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her seemingly pointless death.[3] But with unresolved questions about himself, his job, and his loving but adulterous wife, he soon finds himself immersed in the deeper waters of middle-class revolution originating from the gated community of Chelsea Marina.[4]

When a protest at a cat show turns ugly and he is beaten up by angry cat lovers, then arrested and tried, Markham enlists in the cause of the rebellious Chelseans – imagining he will uncover the persons and causes responsible for his ex-wife's murder. Slowly, he succumbs to the call of subversion and gradually finds himself a terrorist functionary. Along the way, we meet an assortment of wonderfully ballardian characters: Markham's wife, who continues to use her arm canes though her leg injuries from an accident with a tram have completely healed; a sociopathic college film studies lecturer-terrorist cell leader who takes Markham for a lover; a troubled priest and his Chinese girlfriend; a former MI5 bombmaker turned revolutionary and a kindly pediatrician cum terrorist mastermind. Ultimately, Markham learns the reasons behind his former wife's murder have a very different logic than he had imagined.


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