Introduced by Ian McEwan
Illustrated by Sam Weber
One of the most influential novels of the 20th century, it is both a gripping thriller and an ingenious parable about the nature of civilisation.
‘This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grown-ups come to fetch us we’ll have fun.’Following a plane crash, a group of schoolboys is left marooned on a tropical island. Their initial attempts at co-operation soon flounder and, as the veneer of civilisation wears away, their primitive instincts are unleashed, with horrifying consequences. In the 19th-century novel The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne, this same scenario – boys on an uninhabited island – was portrayed as a wholesome adventure. In the hands of Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding, it becomes a powerful and disturbing tale of the dark side of human nature.
Golding was a schoolmaster for many years and, as one reviewer observed, knew ‘exactly what boys are like’. With their initial faith in ‘grown-ups’ and their attempts to cling to the familiar class system, the boys are instantly recognisable: Piggy is the voice of reason, whose advice is tragically ignored; Ralph is the egalitarian who tries to enforce order, building shelters and organising rescue signals. His authority is destroyed by Jack, the hunter, whose lust for blood propels the novel towards its brutal climax. The story is made more compelling still by Golding’s use of imagery: the conch shell, fragile sign of democracy; Piggy’s glasses, symbol of technology, and the Lord of the Flies itself – the terrifying beast that haunts their dreams, and originates from within the boys themselves.
‘Beautifully written, tragic and provocative’
First published in 1954, Lord of the Flies has been translated into every major language, selling over 25 million copies in English alone. One of the most influential novels of the 20th century, it is both a gripping thriller and an ingenious parable about the nature of civilisation. The preface in this edition is by novelist Ian McEwan and includes a series of arresting illustrations by Sam Weber that perfectly capture the novel’s highly charged atmosphere.
‘The vivid realism with which he describes the disintegration of their untried and precarious civilisation under the pressure of raw nature carries the reader to the bloody climax’
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Review by Hannagomita on 25th Jun 2015
"'Lord of the Flies" is my first Folio Society book ever and it is simply wonderful. I bought in the Folio Shop in London during my 3 days visit and it was by far the most pleasant thing I did during m..." [read more]
Review by rile06 on 29th Jul 2013
"Perfection! This is a masterpiece in every way. The text,the fonts,the cover,the illustrations...all contribute to making this book a 'magnum opus'. The illustrations are among the best I've ever see..." [read more]
Review by jakobi.gerth on 20th Feb 2013
"I could not ask anymore from the folio society."