Pincher Martin by William Golding

Description: The sole survivor of a torpedoed destroyer is miraculously cast up on a huge, barren rock in mid-Atlantic. Pitted against him are the sea, the sun, the night cold, and the terror of his isolation. At the core of this raging tale of physical and psychological violence lies Christopher Martin’s will to live as the sum total of his life.

Opening: He was struggling in every direction, he was the centre of the writhing and kicking knot of his own body. There was no up or down, no light and no air. He felt his mouth open of itself and the shrieked word burst out.

‘But what ship was ever so lop-sided? A carrier? A derelict carrier, deserted and waiting to sink? (page 12 of 138)
There was Rockall there.

Ooo this was ambiguous and terrifying, and I think that image of man floating in a jam jar of water will regrettably stay with me for a while.

So what is worse, to die quickly or to linger in illness, solitude and bouts of madness? Both existential scenarios are on display here and lots to ponder upon.

3* Pincher Martin
3* Lord of the Flies

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