Lord of the Flies by William Golding
(Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

75%

33 Critic Reviews

A first novel, originally conceived and convincingly sustained, this should find an audience as vulnerable as its young derelicts.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Before The Hunger Games there was Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.

William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.



"Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books. That was a big influence on me as a teenager, I still read it every couple of years." 
—Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

"As exciting, relevant, and thought-provoking now as it was when Golding published it in 1954."
Stephen King
 

About William Golding

See more books from this Author
Born in Cornwall, England, in 1911 and educated at Oxford University, William Gerald Golding's first book, Poems, was published in 1935. Following a stint in the Royal Navy and other diversions during and after World War II, Golding wrote Lord of the Flies while teaching school. This was the first of several novels including Pincher Martin, Free Fall, and The Inheritors and a play, The Brass Butterfly, which led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.
 
Published July 27, 1959 by Penguin Books. 258 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Lord of the Flies
All: 33 | Positive: 27 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
on Nov 02 2011

A first novel, originally conceived and convincingly sustained, this should find an audience as vulnerable as its young derelicts.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Aiman.A on Jan 24 2012

But if you like your books to have gripping and believable characters with a plot second to none, then Lord of the Flies is for you.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Conrad on Sep 17 2011

When I first read Lord of the Flies at school in Tasmania 50 years ago, I thought – as most boys probably do – that it was simply telling me the story of my life... Lord of the Flies was, and still is, the kind of novel in which you directly participate.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anabel Donald on Aug 30 2002

Despite its bleakness, Lord of the Flies has been adopted as an iconic text in this country. Almost everyone knows the story. It's studied for examinations. It has taken its place in the line of stories about children which we have always enjoyed...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Aiman.A on Jan 24 2012

I would recommend this book to teenagers, both boys and girls, who want to try something...different, to say the least. Teenagers who like adventure and mystery should certainly try this classic.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by philipspires on Jan 04 2009

Lord Of The Flies has weathered its half century remarkably well, but there are flaws which now seem more obvious than they would have been in the years that followed the book’s publication. The power of the book’s observation, however, remains. It is already iconic, its permanence assured.

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Teen Ink

Above average
on Feb 13 2016

Golding proves the theme of good and evil by crafting light and dark imagery about the island throughout the novel.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by crimson_714 on Feb 13 2016

Golding showed mans true capacity for evil with this novel. Elements of Chinese philosophy are seen with the conflict between Ralph and Jack, who represent the light and dark sides of Yin and Yang.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by LivyNewhall on Feb 13 2016

The story leaves you thinking about the truth of society. In the form of survival of the fittest, William Golding shows us the truth about society.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by lucap on Feb 13 2016

...Lord of the Flies has amazing word choice, plot, pro and antagonist and the overall setting is also very good. So the overall verdict is you really should consider reading it if you are over the age of 11.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Ben B. on Feb 12 2016

All in all this was a great read for me and was completely it. I think if anyone read it they would feel the same exact way. It has great ups and downs and really made me think.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by ClassicalWorm on May 20 2014

I suggest reading this anytime you can. Not just for fun but it can teach you some life lessons like how to deal with conflict when you are outnumbered by people against you or when you are being made fun of.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by JEREMY C on May 20 2014

The book not only tells an exciting adventure story, though, it also describes on a deeper level, the thin line between civility and sanity, and violent insanity.

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Teen Ink

Above average
on May 20 2014

...it is a compelling story that keeps your attention...I thought this book was interesting and I would recommend this book to others.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on May 19 2014

It's a book that communicates the universal topic of morality, exploring what's right and wrong and how humans act when faced with challenging circumstances. I applaud Golding's ability to do this, and I'm sure that his story will not soon be forgotten.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Alex7 on May 19 2014

William Golding uses particular word choice and sentence placement to “work” his symbols...the ensuing darkness foreshadow the change of a peaceful island to an island swarming with death and decay.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Michaela95 on May 19 2014

Through the use of these three characters and the beast, Golding demonstrates that civilisations are cultivated from primitive intentions whether it is freedom, oppression, territory or domination.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Turffany on May 19 2014

It has a great storyline, and each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that just makes you want to read more. It may take a couple of reads to understand, because of the complex writing style and long words. William Golding has a beautiful way of describing the boys, the scenery, and the beast.

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Teen Ink

Good
on May 19 2014

A wonderful book for those of you who like to think, The Lord of the Flies is a tale that I highly recommend. Just don't read it in the dark.

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Yahoo! Voices

Excellent
Reviewed by Lois Weisberg on Dec 12 2012

...Lord of the Flies is an outstanding example of the true nature of human beings. There are valuable lessons be learned from this book.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by John Mario on Oct 10 2009

My cousin gave me the book to read. He said it was a real good story. I agree. One day, I took a walk to the local park and sat on the bench. I read the whole book in one sitting.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Shadi Shakouri on Aug 24 2009

The purpose of Golding's work wasn't for us to gain a deeper understanding of something through various symbols; it was to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves through truth. All of us can picture people who we know that could fit the bill for Jack, Ralph, Piggy and Simon.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Jose Leiva on May 31 2007

Through the entire story Golding does a great job of showing us all the similarities between each and every individual in society. Golding shows us that all mankind is, is a group of sniveling, fearful, kids playing at savages or playing at civilized men.

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Yahoo! Voices

Above average
Reviewed by A Girl Who No Longer Exists on Feb 09 2007

William Golding's Lord of the Flies expresses the peril of a lawless society. Using violent scenes, such as the pursuit of the wild boar and the murder of Piggy and Simon, Golding demonstrates how the lack of a basic law code can lead humanity to chaos and sin.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
on May 19 2014

Golding's representation of human nature is dark and grim, and extremely daunting. It is a brilliant work, imagining man's return to that state of darkness which it took him thousands of years to escape.

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Book Review Circle

Good
Reviewed by Ashmita Saha on May 19 2014

This book made a very strong impression on me during my college days. It is one of those rare books which compel you to keep thinking about its message long after the book has been read.

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Lit Lovers

Good
Reviewed by Molly Lundquist on Dec 19 2011

Lord of the Flies is a gripping, suspense-filled novel. Book clubs will have a lively conversation talking about the many interpretations the book offers. I'd like to be a fly on the wall when you discuss it.

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Pretty Books

Good
on Jan 22 2012

Overall, Lord of the Flies is an extremely readable classic. I can see why it has been chosen to study in schools – it’s about a lot more than the story...

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Booking in Heels

Good
Reviewed by Hannah Whitehead on May 19 2014

I absolutely loved Lord of the Flies, which is great as I completely wasn't expecting to. The atmosphere, the tension, the terror... it doesn't surprise me that William Golding won the Nobel Prize for literature.

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Diary of an Eccentric

Good
Reviewed by Anna on Jul 19 2013

It’s not the kind of adventure novel I was expecting, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, but it’s a novel that will haunt me for a very long time.

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http://www2.webster.edu

Good
Reviewed by Bob Corbett on May 01 2014

William Golding has brought his story to its end. He has shown us the rise of society, the natural pattern of history that leads to rebellion and war, and the following collapse of the society.

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Rivers I Have Known

Above average
Reviewed by Amritorupa Kanjilal on Jun 04 2013

This is a book I’ll recommend to everyone who hasn’t read it, particularly the soi disant Young Adults of my acquaintance. But I myself will not read it again in a hurry.

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Death, Books and Tea

Below average
Reviewed by Nina on Jul 30 2011

I didn’t like the writing style. It’s the same long winded style that you get in all the classics, but somehow, this felt slow and dreary and generally uninteresting. The description was detailed, but at some parts it was just a bit too much.

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Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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