Pincher Martin: With an afterword by Philippa Gregory Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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From William Golding, the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and author of Lord of the Flies, Pincher Martin is a terrifying and unforgettable journey into one man's mind.
About the Author
William Golding (1911-1993) was a Booker and Nobel Prize-winning author, best known for his first novel, Lord of the Flies, published originally in 1954 and adapted for film in 1963. His other works include The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956), The Spire (1964), Rites of Passage (1980), The Double Tongue (published posthumously in 1995) a now rare volume, Poems (1934) and the essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target.
Golding was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before his writing career, Golding was a schoolmaster. He was also a keen actor, musician and small-boat sailor.
In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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!
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I kept wondering what would happen when he was rescued - fell for the ruse hook, line and sinker. GreatPublished 4 months ago by annwithout
Absolutely fantastic novel; a true masterpiece. Overwhelmingly powerfulPublished 22 months ago by Nick's Notes
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.Published on 30 April 2014 by Alma Abbs
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.Published on 9 Dec. 2013 by Druid
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... Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 2012 by mad_humanist