Publisher: Faber & Faber
Length: 288 pages
About: 19th Century journal of sea passage to Australia
Style: 1st person in form of a journal
Where: At sea
In the early 1800s, Edmund Talbot, a young and rather priggish Englishman, takes passage on a boat heading for Australia where he is to be an official in the colonial government. In addition to
Talbot, many of the eccentric passengers—a sexually predatory sailor, the aging coquette Miss Zenobia Brocklebank, the ship’s tyrannical captain—undergo profound changes in the course of the voyage,
during which a naive clergyman is victimised and, finally, pushed to suicide.
‘ “My good man” said I,”what is this stink?”
He stuck his sharp nose up and peered round as if he might see the stink in the darkness rather than nose it.
“Stink, sir? What stink, sir?”
“There’s nothing Captain Anderson could do either, sir,” said he. “It’s sand and gravel you see.”
Our anchor has been plucked out of the sand and gravel of Old England.
Before reading Rites of Passage, I was curious to know how it had triumphed over both Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powers and JL Carr's glorious A Month in the Country in the 1980 Booker. Now, I
can only assume that it beat them up. This book is a brute. It's also a canny fighter, employing the most devious feints before landing its punches.
Guardian Books Blog, Sam Jordison, 15th April 2009 for full review click
Not so good:
I enjoyed Lord of the Flies far more than this. That said, I did appreciated the style of writing in this book (even though every character annoyed me in some way to no end), and the culmination
of events was quite awful. I also liked seeing events from the two different perspectives.
Bookcrossing.com, Tantan, 19th January 2005 for full review click here
About the author
William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911. During World War II, Golding served in the Royal Navy in command of a rocket ship. In 1939 he moved to Salisbury, where he began teaching English and
philosophy. Lord of the Flies, his first novel, was published in 1954. It was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. He retired from teaching in 1962. After that, he lived in Wiltshire, listing his
recreations as music, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek. William Golding died in 1993.