THE LAUREATE: Sir William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911. He studied poetry at Oxford and graduated in 1934. He fought in the war (you know, The War) and was involved both in sinking the Bismarck and the D-Day invasion. Golding’s first real success was Lord of the Flies, the original child murder book. He died in 1993.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH HIM: Unlike most people, who at least in the district around here read Lord of the Flies in 9th grade, I read it in 5th. My teacher had, after much exasperation and endless badgering from my parents, agreed to give me more challenging material than most of my classmates. He did, but he never actually did anything with it. I read Lord of the Flies while most of my classmates were reading The Cay, a book about how a rich boy stranded and blinded on a desert island meets a Magic Negro, and learns something about how anyone can surmount adversity with desperation or a lot of money. Man, fifth grade sucked.
WHAT I’M READING: The Paper Men, because it was super cheap at the used bookstore.REVIEW: The Paper Men was not terribly impressive. It was about a curmudgeonly old author who churns out schlock and is pursued by a professor in search of someone to be an academic authority on. Maybe Golding actually felt this way; I don’t know. I do know that he didn’t put any sympathetic characters in his book, and the plot was largely the narrator trying to avoid things that might be happening. Also, Chekov’s gun makes an appearance, but it’s really Chekov’s gu
RECOMMENDED: If you haven’t read Lord of the Flies, change this. It is a wonderful book about the seething primal hatred hiding just beneath the surface of schoolchildren (it’s that well hidden because children were better behaved sixty years ago.). Don’t waste your time with The Paper Men.
WHAT’S NEXT: Wladyslaw Reymont’s The Peasants – Autumn
ADDITIONAL NOTE: No, the world will not be ending tomorrow. I will let a Mesoamerican specialist explain why: http://www.famsi.org/research/vanstone/2012/faq.html