Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

January 7, 2011 at 21:15 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Horror, Mediocre Books) (, , , )


This book was creepy and entirely disagreeable, and every human impulse of the reader bellows simultaneously that the author is utterly and totally wrong. These are boys, Golding! What’s wrong with you?

Needless to say, the ability to provoke such disgust and loathing, not to say outraged denial, is at once uncanny and impressive. There is nothing shocking in this book – except perhaps an absence of sexual content. Only proof that William Golding knew what he was writing about, and set about to meticulously and lovingly crucify his sole personification of purity, by the barbarian horde that turns inevitably to devour itself – only interrupted by the friendly and bemused face of civilisation dipping its head into the abyss of the collective human id.

That does not mean that it is the sort of book into which one ought to regularly plunge. Like a detective tasting poison, and spitting, this story is repugnant and ugly, and mournful in a wonderful way, and should be sampled and shelved.



  1. Monex said,

    Golding believes people are conditioned to civilization but once that civilization is taken away human nature is uncloaked. He is the only one to realise that this fear is within us all that this fear IS our evil. Do you have any other comments about yourself or the book that would give us a better understanding of your review?

    • J. Holsworth Stevenson said,

      Golding is writing a story about something quite hideous, common to all people. Here his readers relate, and here he produces a visceral response in the form of horrified recoil. In a story that has been pored over by every high school student since its inception, Golding can of course be all things to all readers. Whatever the news he is carrying, and whatever warnings or eulogies to the civilised world his gospel bears, Lord of the Flies ought to be admired for its temerity, studied for its wisdom, but enjoyed only sparingly, for the potent draught it is.

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