Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

Audiobook CD - 2002
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Following a world war, a group of school boys survives a plane crash on a deserted island and creates a hellish environment leading to savagery and murder. Two leaders--one civilized, one depraved--epitomize the forces that war eternally in the human spirit.
Publisher: New York : Listening Library, p2002.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9780307281708
Characteristics: 6 audio discs (ca. 6 hr., 52 min.) : digital, Dolby processed ; 4 3/4 in.
audio file,CD audio


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May 15, 2019

I read this novel in high school and later in college, as many kids did. It's considered a classic for good reason. It's a well-crafted allegory with beautifully descriptive passages. But would I get much out of rereading a novel for a third time as a well-read, literary-critical adult? It turns out, I did. For this review, I listened to the audiobook version as read by the author, William Golding, which I will discuss at the end of this review.

Before reading this novel again, I read The Coral Island, the novel William Golding claimed to write Lord of the Flies as a counterpoint to. Both books have the similarly named Jack, Ralph and Peterkin / Piggy main characters, but Lord of the Flies has additional cast members in Simon, Roger, and more. Both books, at their core, are about boys stranded on an island without adults around to take care of them.

The narrator of Lord of the Flies tells the lost boys' story vividly and, at times, poetically, yet keeps an emotional distance from the boys, never eliciting empathy or affection for them or their dilemma. Golding explains before starting his story that these boys represent scaled-down society and, if left to their own devices, would reduce their company to all-out anarchy. This is where Golding's genius lies: creating a premise to contemplate where evil instigates. Golding demonstrates that the disregard of rules and order is what nurtures evil, and it's hard not to disagree with Golding because of the way he structures his story with these three particular fetid protagonists.

Ralph is not an empathetic character, as demonstrated by his disregard of Piggy's feelings throughout the novel, only to have the tiniest bit of remorse for Piggy when it's too late. Jack's self-esteem is so low that he props up his toxic masculinity with bold promises of hunt kills and other threats of violence. Even Piggy's sniveling and hurt feelings are tossed to the side because of his brazen toadiness. It was plain to see from the start of the novel where it was going with these three malcontents leading the stranded children. There was no chance for a positive coexistence on the island without the moral compass of grownups or adults around to steer them right.

But unlike The Coral Island's slow first half of pastoral observations of the island (there were a couple of natural disasters those three boys easily overcame), Golding wasted no time after the first chapter wallowing in detailed observations of nature. He quickly jumped into the meat of his narrative, dissecting the boys interactions with his keen eye, their one-upmanship on full display, their decisions based on hurt feelings and wounded pride. The economy of Golding's storytelling was a marvel and his ability to create some truly beautiful sentences was astounding. By the time the story abruptly stopped, my mind was racing with the possibility of redemption for these terrible boys, these little lords of corruption.

Finally, the narrator for this book--the author himself, William Golding--was excellent. In fact, his narration was one of my favorite parts. He made practically no effort to discern between the boys with character voices or tonal inflections. He read the story straight and let the writing stand for itself. His crotchety, British accent gave his reading a gravelly quality and I quite enjoyed his coarseness as well as his thoughts about the story at the beginning and end of the reading. Golding was a great choice for narrator for this great book.

Jul 13, 2018

William Golding's Lord of the Flies presents a survival-based story that centers around a group of boys that have crash landed onto an island. As children, they believe that without parents around, this is perfect for them but as they plan out their methods of survival, ruling, etc., they realize they have big problems that they must deal with. Personally, when I read this in Grade 9, the characters of this book were easy to connect with since their personalities were very easy to relate to. I found this book to be a really nice read and there are many strong messages that are conveyed throughout the book which I really enjoyed. However, some parts of the book become vague and boring so it was sometimes hard to follow along. Overall, this book was a marvelous book to read and I highly recommend it to teenagers. Rating: 4/5
- @booksandgames9 of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Feb 01, 2018

This particular audiobook is read by the author - he does it pretty well (far better than Toni Morrison reads her books), especially considering it was recorded in 1977 (I think; I can't quite tell) long before the minor art of reading books for recording was seriously developed. I was surprised by how mild his accent was (it seems Englishmen today have more pronounced accents than they did 40 years ago!). The work itself is exciting and excellently paced; some creative and shocking descriptions, the techniques for which were not overused so one really notices them when they are used; the psychological portraits also are vivid for such a short book.

May 24, 2017

My kids just read this book and it made their stomachs sick. I am really glad I avoided this when I was a kid to avoid the topic of politics and eating other people!?!?!?! What was this writer thinking?!?!?!? It was also extremely boring to discuss. There was so much symbolism that it made my head hurt. There should be a warning on it saying "Before you read this book be prepared to be sick."

Feb 06, 2016

I recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in the dark possibilities of human behavior. As a classic piece of fiction, you can find reviews and synopses of the story anywhere. You should keep in mind that this version is read by the author, not a professional voice actor. He doesn't do a great job of narrating, but it's okay. You can hear him breathing at times and he doesn't do the "performance" (e.g. different voices, intentional pauses, dramatic intonation, etc.) that you might expect from a typical audiobook. Still, it's worth listening to.

Jun 10, 2014

I liked this book, but it wasn't that scary.

May 17, 2013

I read Lord of the Flies for the first time in my 10th grade English class, and I remember liking it more than the usual assigned tedium, but I also remember the drowsy discussions on symbolism and theme that threatened to zap the life from Golding's novel.

This time around, I read it for fun. Ralph, Piggy, Jack and all the others are so awkwardly mid-20th century British that you can't help but want to be their friend as you get to know them. Once the story gets going though, and the boys de-evolve into something timelessly primal, nearly everything all the way to the final moment is perfectly executed. The pacing, the character development, and that right amount of horrific violence that still causes me to shudder when I recall it—all of it is inspired.

Jun 14, 2012

11) "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, as read by the author.

Another one of these Classic Books on CD that I'm listening to, since I had trouble reading it before.

In case you didn't already know the set up: a group of boys find themselves on a deserted tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and have to figure out how to survive and be rescued. Fabulous look at archetypes: intellectuals, leaders, and hunters. The way the kids revert to basic impulses is at times heart-rending.

And I didn't realize it has a science fiction set up to the plot (the boys were in some manner fleeing an atomic war), which hangs over the story like a shroud (maybe there is no one left to rescue them).

Another classic I'm glad I didn't miss!

Apr 16, 2010

A masterpiece. Golding manages to really convey the horror, fear and grief in this book with such skill. Amazingly descriptive but always captivating and intense, this book is a must-read.


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Jul 11, 2012

"Sucks to your assmar!"


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