In the end, Super-Cannes is an uneasy cocktail, a sharp-edged satire that sometimes verges on self-parody. Yet in the book‘s final third, as Paul stumbles through tightening webs of deceit and manipulation, Ballard’s considerable skills suddenly come into focus. While the plot accelerates toward an apocalyptic denouement, he continually pulls the rug out from under our feet, forcing us to frantically revise and reassess our judgment of various characters and their actions. The climax -- inevitable, yet somehow unexpected --leaves you to ponder the disarmingly indistinct line between moral complexity and self-delusion.
For all its shortcomings, in other words, Ballard‘s novel finally achieves a brilliant, thorny ambiguity -- the kind that lodges splinterlike in your imagination, and refuses to come loose.