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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read but worth the effort.
Golding does not shy away from the fact that his title character Christopher Martin is a louse.

Of the thousands of sailors stranded in Mid-Atlantic during World War 2 he was the one that deserved to be there.

He might even have wriggled out of conscription into the navy had any of the influential members of his circle chosen to speak up for him. The...
Published on 14 Nov 2009 by P. Ruffle

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the best endings in a novel!
This novel is another one of those William Golding ones that needs full concentration - no radio, no TV, no people chattering in the background. It can be quite hard going to begin with, but persevere: the ending is the best one you will have read in a long time.

Ostensibly, it's the story of a man who is shipwrecked - the descriptions of drowning at the...
Published on 23 Aug 2010 by Meredith Byrne


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read but worth the effort., 14 Nov 2009
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
Golding does not shy away from the fact that his title character Christopher Martin is a louse.

Of the thousands of sailors stranded in Mid-Atlantic during World War 2 he was the one that deserved to be there.

He might even have wriggled out of conscription into the navy had any of the influential members of his circle chosen to speak up for him. The truth is that Martin had been such a pig in civilian life that most were heartily sick of him and were more than willing to wave him on his way.

All save perhaps his one true friend Nathaniel. The kind of man who would see the good in anyone, Nathaniel offers Martin warmth and friendship but is repaid by coldness and distain.

In a gesture of loyalty worthy of Beau Geste, Nathaniel also enlists in the navy and Golding contrives to have them serve aboard the same ship.

Alas this act of kindness effectively seals the ship's doom. Nathaniel has also won the heart of the girl Martin himself can only repulse. Martin's coldness for Nathaniel turns into the same kind of loathing that the rest of the world reserves for Martin.

It was Martin's watch on top that fateful day. Instead of paying attention to his watch, Martin's attention is fixed on Nathaniel. Martin has noticed Nathaniel has a habit of learning over a certain rail and he weighs up how he can cause the ship to manoeuvre to wash him overboard.

As a direct result of Martin's dereliction the Destroyer veers from its zigzag course just enough for a U boat to slam a torpedo into its side. The effect is devastating and the Destroyer sinks almost immediately taking all hands with it; although the force of the explosion casts Martin into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

For the rest of the crew the struggle is over. For Martin it is just beginning. This Ancient Mariner, minus the Albatross and seemingly without a conscience for what he has done, immediately focuses on how he is going to get out of there.

The survival instinct kicks in as Martin struggles out of his heavy sea-boots. Aided by the buoyancy of his life jacket, Martin eventually finds himself at a remote rock island outcrop. Some believe this to be Rockall, somewhat North West of Scotland and Ireland, but I have not seen proof at that.

Struggling out of the water's reach, Martin finds sanctuary on the rock. The bulk of the book thereafter focuses on his life on the rock, initially relating his attempts to secure food, fresh water and basic shelter.

Inevitably after a period of isolation with little immediate prospect of rescue, the episode starts to have a detrimental effect on Martin's state of mind. The weather closes in for the worse and with little to do but stare out to sea and reflect upon his life, Martin's mood becomes as dark as the blackness in the sky.

Struggling to hold on to reality, as Martin's world becomes increasingly surreal and even begins to disintegrate, the reader is left wondering if Martin has lost it completely.

The final chapter is a revelation and the final sentence packs the punch of the torpedo. If the book leaves you scratching your head initially, it is meant to. Retracing your steps and perhaps even careful re-reading and the penny starts to drop.

One of the most skilfully written books I have read, this is one of the treasures of 20th century English Literature.

Unfortunately a less favourable review has leaked the ending. If you really don't want to know look away now.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fever Dream, 18 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
Naval officer Christopher Martin has fallen overboard in the Atlantic. He has no hope of rescue yet he refuses to die, his ego will not allow it. He finds refuge from drowning on a rock. There he has time to reflect on his life,and to delude himself, before he must face the terrifying truth of his situation.
To read this novel is like experiencing a vivid fever dream. It's with relief that you emerge to an ending that changes the whole meaning of what went before.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the best endings in a novel!, 23 Aug 2010
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
This novel is another one of those William Golding ones that needs full concentration - no radio, no TV, no people chattering in the background. It can be quite hard going to begin with, but persevere: the ending is the best one you will have read in a long time.

Ostensibly, it's the story of a man who is shipwrecked - the descriptions of drowning at the beginning will curl your hair. He is then washed up on a rock in the middle of the ocean, where he has to keep himself alive by eating sea anemones and catching rainwater in his souwester.

During the course of his time on the rock, he suffers sunburn, sunstroke and food poisoning, but it's the things in his mind that threaten him the most. And we gradually learn things about him that make us wonder whether we really want him to survive or not.

And then we get to the end... Wonderful!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect transaction, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
All went as well as it could go with this order. No delay, item arrived in condition as described and I have no reason for complaint.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery., 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
Quick delivery. I had read this years ago and enjoyed it, but I couldn't find my copy! I was prompted to buy it after some news item about Rockall.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Three of the best., 23 Nov 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Somewhere, on an irregular basis, a small, disillusioned group meets in a spit-and-sawdust pub to bemoan their judgement; comprising the twelve or so publishers who rejected "Lord of the Flies", their nostalgic yearnings for time machines continue until closing time when the, by now, bedraggled group slouches and slurs home. In contrast, Faber and now Guild Publishing have enjoyed the champagne benefits of "Flies" presence on the GCE/GCSE syllabi and "Pincher" on the Advanced Level lists since their publications, 1954 and 1956 respectively. The Booker Prize was captured by "Rites" in 1980, the first in his sea trilogy; in 1980, "The Times" ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Guild Publication has now gained the rights from Faber to publish this Golding trilogy, some say his best three novels; it is an excellently produced compilation, sewn and glued sections with a Faber-type, minimalist dust-cover design. Not usually a fan of large editions of collected works in one volume, I like this - a sensible size, good quality paper and a readable text (11pt?). This edition could accompany students through three levels of examinations - a must for all aspiring students and "pushy" parents!

These three books exemplify Golding's style very clearly - allusions to classical literature, mythology and Christian symbolism, extensive vocabulary, stories pared to their essentials and plots which seem to deepen with each page. Another distinct Golding writing-style feature is his isolation of characters, preventing outside influences from affecting their situation and fates - two islands and a ship. This tightness of narrative structure focuses the plot's intensity with laser-like precision.

Recommended. Three of Golding's best for 1.50!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Experience, 6 Dec 1999
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
A truly wonderful short novel which conveys the real sense of isolation and impending madness which befalls the poor shipwrecked sailor. Just when you think he's managing to survive, great streams of madness/consciousness spew forth from the pages and you are left in doubt as to the ultimate outcome of this haunting story. An excellent read, but not an uplifting one!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard A-Level text, 19 Sep 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

If readers are looking for summaries, notes and synopsis, please look elsewhere.

Golding seemed to have cornered the examination syllabi at one time, GCSE "Lord of the Flies" and A-Level, "Pincher Martin". It is a fascinating book which challenges some expectations of the novel, perhaps one of the reasons it was listed for the advanced level. It is a classical example of one of Golding's favourite narrative techniques, i.e. to isolate his characters allowing only their actions to affect their lives directly.

Golding at his best is excellent and this is one of his best.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a rock hard read, 3 Aug 2012
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
It's the second world war. A convoy of ships and naval escorts is sailing across the Atlantic. One of the naval ships is sunk, but a lone officer manages to reach a small rocky barely inhabitable island. From the beginning he applies his education, intelligence and shear will to live to the problems of survival and maximising chances of rescue. However the limited food, lack of shelter and depressing prospects of rescue wear down his sanity and sense of identity. As we peer into the geological strata of his subconscious we find that whilst on the surface he is likeable, sober and socialable young man, his inner world is a maggot-eat-maggot race to be first at all costs.

But that naive reading has sunk by the last sentence of the novel. You are much more likely to reach the other shore, if you have an inflatable lifebelt with you. For that I would suggest viewing it as an exploration of the tension between Promethean ideas of the human urge to survive and conquer nature with modern religious ideas.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever fantasy, 5 Aug 2010
This review is from: Pincher Martin (Paperback)
With a twist of genius, this remarkably sustained fantasy takes residence in the reader's mind.
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Pincher Martin
Pincher Martin by William Golding (Paperback - 22 July 1997)
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