Finding Gold(ing)

Art, books, poetry

There are some men, women who are able to write imaginatively, intelligently and pass something on. William Golding is one of these. In a similar way that Shakespeare manages, Golding appears to delve deep into the human psyche, and serve it up to the reader as valuable insight , well told.  It is a remarkable gift, beyond any treasure I can imagine.  Golding was a deeply private man, and conflicted in his own life, troubled by the imagination, and considering himself deeply flawed, ‘ a monster’.  It isn’t clear why he felt this way, but his novels relate his compulsion to purge himself of the damaging views he had of what men can be.  I have just read ‘Free Fall’, and want to immediately return to it’s pages, to further understand the story he is telling me.  I was entranced by some of the poetic prose, and more than that, made breathless by it.  The opening paragraph is as strong an opening as I have read. This short summary from the website about Golding says

“Considered by some to be one of Golding’s best, this book needs to be read more than once. Through its narrator’s search for the point at which he lost his freedom -by implication, the freedom to be good – the novel strikes the reader most forcibly in its terrible demonstration of how we are born to hurt each other – and ourselves. A love story in which hate and cruelty play their parts, the narrative cycles back and forth through time in a series of spell-binding, concretely imagined episodes. ‘People are the walls of our room, not philosophies’.”

When William Golding (1911-1993) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Nobel Foundation cited:

“…his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”.

Every time I have read one of his novels, I have been forcibly struck by the style and the content of what he writes. He makes my world richer, and more interesting, and provokes me to further curiosity. What more could a writer want to achieve. I hope I inspire one person, and preferably more , to pick up this novel. To encourage you further follow the link below to an audio passage about Golding, from John Careys new biography. I have got it on order!

Here are some tasters from the novel, to whet your appetite.

‘Free-will cannot be debated but only experienced, like a colour or the taste of potatoes’

‘Time is two modes. The one is an effortless perception native to us as water the the mackerel.  The other is a memory, as sense of shuffle fold and coil, of that day nearer than that because more important, of that event mirroring this, or those three set apart, exceptional and out of the straight line altogether.’

And the beginning;

‘ I have walked by stalls in the market-place where books, dog-eared and faded from their purple, have burst with a white hosanna.  I have seen people crowned with a double crown, holding in either hand the crook and flail, the power and the glory. I have understood how the scar becomes a star, I have felt the flake of fire fall, miraculous and pentecostal. My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are grey faces that peer over my shoulder. I live on Parasise Hill, ten minutes from the station, thirty seconds from the shops and the local.  Yet I am a burning amateur, torn by the irrational and incoherent, violently searching and self condemned.’









3 thoughts on “Finding Gold(ing)

  1. !!!

    those quotes move me more than almost any other quotes in the whole wide world of literature. What did you think of John Carey’s biography? I was just thrilled by the enormous insight it gave me into Golding’s troubled mind, his deep happinesses, and his constant fears that his writing wasn’t good enough.


    1. loved his biography, his daughter has just brought out a memoir about living with him as her father – will be reading that too. What John Carey managed to do was show Golding as a flawed human being with concerns like mine. His writing leaves me feeling I am in the presence of a god! I get very passionate about writers who can perform magic like he does. Makes life more lifelike somehow.


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