Lord of the Flies. Finished 12-21-15, rating 3/5, fiction, 208 pages, pub. 1954
William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first, it seems as though it’s all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was 1st published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought & literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic. From Goodreads
I tried to listen to this one earlier in the year and the audio was unfortunately read by the author. I gave up fairly quickly and fared better with the print version. This won’t be making any of my favorite lists but I am glad I read it just because of its cultural impact and the influence it continues to have over 60 years later.
Think TV show Lost meets reality TV Survivor and you have an idea of where this slim classic is going to take you. Boys, aged 6-12, stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash struggle to join forces to survive. Ralph, leader, keeper of the conch shell and the voice of order, and Jack, wanna be leader of the island but starts with leader of the hunters, start off on the same side but as time goes by and boys struggle to do what needs to be done these two boys become enemies.
I loved the concept and, even with the sometimes stilted or dated writing, it was easy to read. I liked their struggles with how to make order out of nothing, but did find the descent into the surreal not as engaging. I wanted more reality I think. And as much as I hate to say this, I wonder if I was less engaged because it was an island full of boys?
I think this is one that would have benefitted from reading in class or with a group. I know I missed a lot of the symbolism and nuance. I’m glad I read it but it was just okay for me with the plusses and minuses being equal.
My 8th read for The Classics Club! I have 5 more years to finish my list of 50 classics 🙂