To the Ends of the Earth Paperback – 5 Aug 2004
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"'[Rites of Passage] is the work of a master at the full stretch of his age and wisdom.' The Times; 'Laden to the waterline with a rich cargo of practicalities and poetry, pain and hilarity, drama and exaltation.' Sunday Times"
From William Golding - winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and author of Lord of the Flies - To the Ends of the Earth collects all three novels in Golding's classic Sea Trilogy in one volume.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Edmund Talbot is priviledged by class and education, and yet utterly hidebound socially. His arrogant sense of superiority leads him to flout ship's rules immediately and to get in the way at every stage of the voyage. It is a deft balancing act to let us laugh at his clumsiness, hypocrisy and snobbishness, yet still retain some sympathetic feeling for him. Golding manages this. Edmund is young, after all. He will learn!
There is wonderful humour in Rites of Passage, (the seduction of Zenobia being a standout scene), and there is great pathos too, most obviously in the plight of poor Reverend Colley. This book is an English classic, no question.
Golding's admits in his excelllent introduction that the sequels ("Close Quarters" and "Fire Down Below") were not planned from the outset, but that he felt there was more to discover about Edmund and his co-travellers, so allowed his imagination to extend the full length of the voyage. How marvellous for us that he did so!
Read on their own, books 2 and 3 would possess less of the beautiful structural arch of the first (a fact cunningly acknowledged by our unreliable narrator midway through Close Quarters!) However, read right through, they gather momentum, transforming into a terrific, page-turning sea adventure. Gradually the pretense of an interrupted journal narrative gives way to a more suitable novelistic treatment. By the end, Edmund has emerged as quite the hero (though still somewhat accident-prone!Read more ›
He is not disappointed in his hope, as I found his trilogy absolutely absorbing and engaging. Honestly I place it as some of the most enjoyable prose I've ever read. I'm actually considering doing a research project on him for my degree, is the extent to which this book has impressed me.
It's just refreshing hearing Golding write through such a thoroughly happy and upbeat narrator. It infuses the book with a cheerfulness despite Golding's perrenial themes of social class and human nature.
Certainly this trilogy must be seen as central in Golding's work, not just for its sheer size, but also since it most clearly manifests Golding's frequent allusions to existence as a sea journey. In this case we see these existences being played out literally on a journey to the ends of the earth, from England to the Antipodes.
The journey presented is undeniably fraught, and for a work of serious fiction, remarkably exciting at a vary basic level. Alongside it's obvious literary credentials, it stands on its own as simply and enjoyable book.
What's the essence of this journey that's presented? In my opinion, nothing more or less than the journey through a "Good Read."
However, by the time I was well into the second book, I had realised that it was more of a comedy, as well as being a comment on the English class system. By the third book, I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end.
The ending was a bit soft for my taste, but I absolutely loved the main character, Edmund Talbot (and having recently learned that he was played in the BBC's version by Benedict Cumberbatch, I love him even more!).
The three books describe a voyage to Australia on a ship that is literally falling apart. Edmund is a young aristocrat who initially sees the crew as jolly tars there to serve him, and barely registers the poor emigrants in the other part of the ship. He thinks that because he himself receives fine food and brandy, the sailors have no cause for complaint.
Gradually, however, he begins to change his attitude and see his fellow voyagers as people, particularly when disaster threatens them all, and the food begins to run out, even for the rich passengers.
Now that I've been encouraged to read the rest of William Golding's novels, I can see where he was going with 'To the Ends of the Earth'. I'm definitely going to read it again very soon!
Here begins a story of great charm, later to turn on matters of jealousy, danger and love as Fitz-Henry becomes acclimatized to his new position - that of a novice abroad, regarded by some with suspicion, but gradually gaining the consoling friendships and acquaintances of even the lowest seadog. There are various factions in train, and when in a becalmed sea, he finds love. Not that he gets much chance to further his passion as the lady in question is aboard another ship. But there is a moment when the ships are conjoined and a party is fashioned, partly in celebration of the defeat of Napoleon.
Their ship faces terrible danger in the icy seas and this book is everything it promises to be. This is not a prison ship, and there are emigrants to Australia aboard, children too. The voyage is fraught with danger, especially for the parson, who is looked on with contempt by the atheist Captain Anderson. Their antagonisms fester, but the parson is not an equal and Fitz-Henry finds it difficult to extend his help to so pathetic a man. The parson is left in an abject position, shunned and ridiculed by turns. The hierarchy aboard is rigidly adhered to.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely wonderful, the complete trilogy in one book, given as a present, and the reader finished it so quickly, brilliantly successful present.Published 6 months ago by Harbourgirl1
This book proves absolutely enchanting for me, being a big sea stories/William Golding fan. It IS big, but this is what I requested - the trilogy together in one piece! Read morePublished on 10 May 2014 by Grigor M. Angelov
It is huge! Difficult to carry...had I known I would have ordered the three separate books. I can use it as a reference book.Published on 9 Nov. 2013 by Robert Primelnati
...Golding's insightful observations of human behaviour/misbehaviour in a small enclosed community could only be derived by personal & intimate experience. Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2012 by 1957
I feel torn in writing this review. If I let my inclination have free rein I would write such a gushing review that it would hardly be credible and may even put some of you off. Read morePublished on 22 Feb. 2012 by C. M. Turcan
While filming the television adaptation, Benedict Cumberbatch described the trilogy as the ultimate gap year. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2011 by Red Ribbit
Each of the constituent parts of this magnificent trilogy (Rites of Passage (Sea Trilogy), Close Quarters (Sea Trilogy) and Fire Down Below (Sea Trilogy) I have discussed in more... Read morePublished on 14 Mar. 2010 by Didier