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The Children of Lovers: A memoir of William Golding by his daughter Hardcover – 7 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571273408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571273409
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The Children of Lovers is an interesting, intelligent memoir, written in an engaging and unsentimental style. Judy is a compassionate and forgiving daughter, and she has managed to arrive at some understanding of who her father was, and of how he shaped who she is. -- Irish Times

Judy Golding is a sophisticated and self-conscious memoirist, flagging delicate evasions and yet having the courage to explore the cruelties, inconsistencies and conflicts within her father as they impacted on family life and her own psyche... Golding was a large figure and he emerges from this memoir with clarity and complexity. It is of great credit to Judy Golding that the reader concludes by being just as interested in his daughter. -- Helen Taylor, Independent

In 1993, Golding died after an evening with the family, drunk and alone, at about 4am a bad time for a sufferer of night terrors... On the same night, in a nearby room, Judy had a prophetic dream that at last she could think and write whatever she liked. This book, so clear thinking and devoid of self-pity has emerged from that discovery. While William Golding may give The Children of Lovers its heft and weight, the author gives it wings, and her book takes flight in a light-spirited way that those brilliant, brilliant, demon-haunted novels never quite did. --Sarah Bakewell, Sunday Times

This is a lovely book. Judy Golding writes of her father indeed of both of her parents with candour, humour and great insight and perception. More than that, her is an exemplary memoir of childhood, not remorsely chronological, but drawing on the jumbled past to give an account of what it was like to be a child in an unusual family... Judy writes of her mother with tact and delicacy... Judy s memoir is the perfect compliment to John Carey s biography... a book that deserves to become a classic memoir of childhood, in which her loving but clear-eyed portrait of a man she sees now as two people warm and embracing but also at times self-centred and cruel an absorbing read, a must read for Golding devotees, and, frankly, for anyone. -- Penelope Lively, Spectator

Spectacular... intensely moving, ingeniously structured, honest and straightforward account of a dysfunctional English family that is by turns very ordinary and very bizarre... Golding emerges as an admirable personality, however flawed... packed with rich material, at times warming, often chilling, but always memorable... Judy Golding, with an artistry that is equal to (and a clarity that surpasses) her father s, presents a brilliant example of how [writing a family saga] can be best accomplished. -- Alexander Waugh, Literary Review

One of the attractions for me in writing a memoir, [Judy Golding] admits, has been the tantalising prospect of bringing my father to life again. The prospect is fulfilled. Here is Golding, shuffling around in his old naval clothes, indulging in amateur dramatics, drinking heavily, forever tempted. --Ian Sansom, Guardian

Book Description

The Children of Lovers: A memoir of William Golding by his Daughter - by Judy Golding - is a frank and engaging family memoir of one of our best-loved and most influential authors.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NP on 5 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
Judy Golding's memoir of her father, Lord of the Flies author William Golding, is beautifully written, poignant and extremely engaging. The opening of the book is more novel-like than memoir, as she describes an accident the Goldings had while sailing in their boat. Following this, she takes us on a journey of growing up with an increasingly famous father, a mother who seemed largely indifferent towards her daughter, and the emotional difficulties of herself and her brother.
One of the most compelling aspects of the memoir is Judy's discussion of Golding's novels. In contrast to John Carey's recent scholarly biography of Golding, The Children of Lovers includes personal recollections of events that inspired Golding, in novels as diverse as Lord of the Flies, The Spire, Pincher Martin, The Pyramid and Free Fall.
It is to the author's great credit that the reader becomes entirely immersed in the Goldings' world and I was disappointed to reach the end of the book! I would highly recommend The Children of Lovers to William Golding fans and also to readers more generally interested in memoirs and life in post-war Britain. It is also recommended for anyone interested in the complexities of family life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marius Gabriel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be honest, I approached this book with some doubts, since memoirs of the great written by their nearest and dearest often disappoint. This lovely book doesn't.

Not only does it give precious insights into the daily life, preoccupations, eccentricities and mental workings of a very great writer, but it's a superb study of family dynamics in and of itself. Judy Golding comes across as an engaging, lovable, formidably intelligent personality whom it is a delight to meet. Her efforts to understand her often-difficult parents and brother have resulted in what might be called a family portrait -- a study of the Goldings which reads like a fluent and gripping novel.

Judy was clearly an adored, adoring daughter, but not an uncritical one. She tells us that her father's relationship with his family was filled with complexities and tensions, many of which are reflected in the themes of Golding's novels -- the secrets, the abrupt revelations, the insecurities, the conflict between the need for privacy and the demands of family life, and so forth. Golding is a very British author, and one who perennially returned to family life in his novels. This book about a very British family holds many of the keys to his inspiration.

It's beautifully written.

One of the best family memoirs I've read, a book which all lovers of William Golding will relish -- but far more than that, a fine, subtle, very human book on its own account.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Judy Golding, daughter of Lord of the Flies author, William Golding, begins her memoir with an almost heart-stopping account of the family's near-death experience when their Dutch racing barge collided with a ship when sailing in the morning mist off the English coast. After opening her memoir with this very descriptive piece of writing, Judy Golding's story of life with her father, follows a slightly calmer route - although she informs us early on in her account that her father often sailed close to the wind.

William Golding met his future wife, Ann, in 1939, and they fell immediately in love with each other even though they were both engaged to other people. They married very soon afterwards and Judy tells us "for the rest of their lives, they were always by far the most important people in the world to each other, bar none: friends, lovers, children, grandchildren." Judy's brother, David, was born in 1940 and Judy was born five years later, a nervous child, terrified of the dark who felt her father brought her comfort and safety. Judy tells us of how she felt complete, unquestioning love for her father and tried to emulate him by deepening her voice, trying to write with her left hand and running downstairs as he did: lightly and with his toes turned out. Judy felt rather differently about her mother, who could be unpredictable and volatile and, we later learn, jealous of her daughter. Fortunately Judy was very close to her paternal grandparents, particularly her grandfather, Alec, an intelligent, patient and gentle man, who nevertheless had a difficult relationship with his son, Judy's father.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Is it just me? on 14 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Golding is a master story teller and these memoirs of his daughter's throw some light onto how he thought and a lot of light onto how he was as a family man. A man of contradictions. The memoirs were not always comfortable reading for me, who almost worshipped the man, only knowing him through his books. But as his daughter says, he couldn't understand why people would want to worship him anyway so I felt a bit silly at making him my hero.

A thought provoking book about one of England's best writers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Josa Young on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sad, fascinating and revealing, this is a daughter's account of William Golding. She does not hold back on the less attractive aspects of her father's character, but there is so much here that is also about love. Better to be the child of someone who actively pursues a fascinating life path, even though there is wreckage (literally in this case - the book opens with the wreck of Golding's boat) than to live with someone who does nothing to inspire. Read this in conjunction with John Carey's biography for a rounded picture of the man who wrote a great deal more than Lord of the Flies. For me, The Spire and Pincher Martin are equal if not superior. A compelling character study.
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