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Comment: 1966. First Thus. Mass Market Paperback. Well-read vintage paperback in good condition. Some light shelf wear. May have some sunning and/or foxing but remains a clean copy.. . . . . We ship daily from our Bookshop.
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Pincher Martin Mass Market Paperback – 1966

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Publishing; First Thus edition (1966)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000KS6F92
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,078,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I cannot understand why this book is not better known. A Naval officer, apparently the only survivor of a torpedoed ship, struggles to survive on Rockall, a storm-lashed mid-Atlantic rock. Gradually we see him and his situation for what they really are. The book is stark, harrowing and terrible, but an unforgettable exploration of the fallen nature of man. With Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors, it is terrifying yet somehow beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not complaining. I think man's dark potential is always a fascinating topic and Golding is probably the best modern explorer of this theme. Pincher Martin is not only a probing psychological study of an unrepentant man who clings to life with ferocity, it is also an examination of the nature of reality.

Golding employs an old, old narrative trick with skill, steeps the narrative in symbolism, challenges readers to see something admirable in his protagonist, and sets it all on a vividly drawn islet from hell.
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Format: Paperback
Christopher 'Pincher' Martin is blown from the bridge of his navy ship and struggles in the tumult of the ocean for survival. The massive lashing force of the sea threatens to consume him, but he sights a spit of boulders, and clambers onto it. He comes to realise where he is - the tiny isolated rock in the North Atlantic that only appears on the weather charts. This rock is clearly based on the real islet of Rockall, which is one of the most isolated godforsaken places on earth. Miles and miles from the nearest land, with slender chance of rescue, Martin embarks on a survival mission. He drinks water from a tiny pool, eats weeds and sea anemones for sustenance, and talks to himself to keep his consciousness going. Piece by piece, he begins to construct the picture of who he is and what he has become. Martin is revealed to be an awful figure, an aggressive and selfish sexual predator who before his blast from the bridge was planning to kill a rival suitor. Golding writes Martin to be a throughly unappealing man, who nevertheless encapsulates a hard and bitter essence of our nature.

In hard packed, spare and salty prose, Pincher Martin is a supremely elegant and harsh short novel. Mingling themes of existentialism, psychology and survival, it is in the line of Robinson Crusoe literature that cuts us adrift from our self enclosed humanist bearings and forces us to inhabit a world we won't forget easily. The trick ending will surprise many, and force the reader to consider again Golding's big and portentous ideas about consciousness and human striving.
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Format: Paperback
William Golding's debut novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), is widely known for its portrayal of the savage child, the regressive state of human nature when faced with hardship. When stranded on an island and without adults for leadership or their rules to live by, the children descend into primality, vindictiveness, group delusion, and murder. Pincher Martin is similar in this regard but set on an isolated rock with one man, his plight, his thoughts and his delusions in solitude. Where Lord of the Flies can be seen as the state of individuals in society without control, Pincher Martin could be seen as the state of individual control without society.

Rear cover synopsis:
"Drowsing in the freezing North Atlantic, Christopher Hadley Martin, temporary lieutenant, happens upon a grotesque rock, an island that appears only on weather charts. To drink there is a pool of rain water; to eat there are weeds and sea anemones. Through the long hours with only himself to talk to, Martin must try to assemble the truth of his fate, piece by terrible piece."

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His navy ship having been sunk, Martin drifts in loneliness upon the Atlantic currents prone to undulation of oceanic waves and persistence of the blurred sun above. The valleys and hills of the wet ebony expanse seamlessly morph into a rocky island, a minute outpost of life amid the bleak seascape of his ship's destruction. Assessing his clothing and pockets, Martin sets his will to triumph over idleness while evaluating the topology of his rocky pinnacle for food, drink, shelter and zenith.
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Format: Paperback
Golding is an incredible wordsmith. With stark realism and deep insight, he probes one man's outer and inner struggles for survival after washing up on a rock in the mid-Atlantic. I found the psychological portrail wholly believable, but I had a difficult time sympathizing with this character. He's a womanizer, a self-centered egotist. With near-animal drive, he carves out meager existence on the rock. I found very little emotional connection with Martin, and read on primarily because of Golding's narrative power.
Essentially, Golding seems to say that, brought to our lowest common denominator in a fight for life, we are all self-centered, that greed takes over. I found the argument weak because we discover that Martin was this way already. I would've liked to see a selfless person's fight for existence and the consequences of his actions.
Or maybe that's Golding's point: Martin's self-centeredness eventually corrodes his ability to survive because the motivations run shallow. Numerous true-life accounts show the struggle of men and women to rise above their base needs and extend life heroically to others. Selflessness often leads to the survival of the group, it seems, but in this book we have only one character's survival to consider.
A second reading might reveal to me more of Golding's intentions in this story, but the fact remains: Golding knows how to build word upon word until you are trapped within the dwelling of his character's minds. That alone lifts this book above the volumes of so-called literature stacked on most shelves.
Based on Golding's own standards from his other books, I cannot highly recommend this as a great story, but only as a great example of powerful wordage and characterization. I think Golding sells us short here on the premise of survival. I finished the last page with little emotional or intellectual reaction. I felt, like Martin, only blank disillusionment.
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