I've finish reading J. D. Ballard's books "Miracles of Life" and "Rushing to Paradise". Now I'm trying "The Kindness of Women".
In my school days I had been taught how to understand what the author really meant when I read novels in Japanese class.
I guess that this method is based on classic literary criticism. In classic literary criticism, critics thought that every novel expressed what its author wanted to express, and reading a novel means to deciphered its author's true intention. When they read a novel, they studied its author's biography and background in order to pursue his motivation to write that novel.
After I became a university student, I found modern literary criticism. In modern literary criticism, critics don't focus on what the author's intention but the text, which he wrote, itself. They divide the author from his text and interrupt the text as an independent object.
Haruki Murakami said that his novels were independent from himself after they were published, and readers could read them the way each of them wanted to read. I think that his thought is based on modern literary criticism.
I usually read a novel as independent text and I don't care about what its author thought. I just enjoy it in my own way.
But about J. D. Ballard, I'm interested in not only his novels but also his own life. His representative work "Empire of the Sun" is an autobiographical novel, so I'd like to know what is real and what is fiction in this novel.
He wrote the autobiography "Miracles of Life" before his death. From this book I found the other his novels, which are quite fantastic and macabre, are based on his real experience of his childhood like a nightmare where he grown up in Shanghai during World War 2.
He accepted his hard experience and crystallizes it into his novels. Reading his work, novels and autobiography, heal my emotion at such a time, because I can share a severe experience with him.