‘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.
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.
Review by jakobi.gerth on 20th Feb 2013
"I could not ask anymore from the folio society."
Review by RobertoGomez on 6th Feb 2013
"I felt, subtly, that there was something nightmarish in the very prose of The Lord of the Flies. The story's opening is uneasy, even in the dialogue. The place where we suddenly find ourselves feels m..." [read more]
Review by anon on 16th Aug 2012
"My first Folio Society book and comparing to most of the books on the market today, at least this one is superior in every way. I'm very happy and will be ordering more."