On a day in April, just after three oclock in the afternoon, Robert Maitlands car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament soon turns into horror as Maitland—a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe—realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory.
This is the excellent stuff of classic castaway adventure, stiffened here by contemporary overtones that call into question social values. San Francisco Chronicle