William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. --Jennifer Hubert
--This text refers to the
"The most influential novel...since Salinger's Catcher in the Rye."
"Lord of the Flies [is my selection for The Book That Changed My Life] because it is both a story with a message and because it is a great tale of adventure. My advice about reading is to do a lot of it."
-- Stephen King, for the National Book Foundation, The Book That Changed My Life
"[T]his brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return (in a few weeks) to that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to emerge. Fully to succeed, a fantasy must approach very close to reality. Lord of the Flies does. It must also be superbly written. It is."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"[S]parely and elegantly written...Lord of the Flies is a grim anti-pastoral in which adults are disguised as children who replicate the worst of their elders' heritage of ignorance, violence, and warfare."
-- Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books