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William Golding: Pincher Martin

After the huge success of Lord of the Flies, much was expected of his next novel. Frankly, it turned out to be something of a disappointment. Christopher Martin is shipwrecked and washes up on a rock in the Atlantic. He has some fresh water to drink, seaweed and sea anemones to eat and the will to survive. The entire book is about his memories and his fight for survival. Taking up the theme of Lord of the Flies, Golding shows that, in his view, the beast in us will predominate for Martin is shown not just as struggling (and failing) but as not a good man (he is, amongst other things, a lecher). But ultimately, this book is about a man trying to survive on a rock in the Atlantic and that does not make for fun reading.

Publishing history

First published 1956 by Faber & Faber