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Publisher's Summary

Get ready for an adventure tale in its purest form, a thrilling and elegantly told account of a group of British schoolboys marooned on a tropical island. Alone in a world of uncharted possibilities, devoid of adult supervision or rules, the boys begin to forge their own society, their own rules, their own rituals. With this seemingly romantic premise, and through the seemingly innocent acts of children, Golding exposes the duality of human nature itself: the dark, eternal divide between order and chaos, intellect and instinct, structure and savagery.
©1954 William Golding (P)2002 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Lord of the Flies gives the reader a lucid and chillingly objective mirror to our modern society. William Golding's narration is as impartial as his work, yet his grumbly, grandfatherly voice, complete with mid-sentence sniffs and swallows, is intimate." (AudioFile)

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A Beautiful, Terrible Glimpse into Our Beast Heart

Although I had read The Lord of the Flies in junior high, I was grabbed and devastated by this audiobook of the novel (read by author William Golding). The British schoolboys who crash land on a deserted coral island and then try to survive to be rescued are in way over their heads. With ruthless yet caring inevitability Golding develops the conflict between society, rules, responsibility, tolerance, the individual, and ???doing what???s right??? on the one hand and savagery, play, violence, superstition, the mob, and might-makes-right on the other.

Some listeners have complained about Golding???s reading, but I believe it is a privilege to listen to a great author read his own classic novel, especially because Golding is an excellent reader. He does not change his voice like an actor (e.g. Tim Curry) to speak in a distinctly different voice for each character. Instead, he reads throughout with his own appealing, civilized, and sad voice, matching and enhancing whatever emotions his characters are feeling when they speak. You can hear him take deep breaths now and then, but that only humanizes him and makes it more like a ???live,??? personal, and private reading.

Things like the conch, the fire, and the beast become powerful symbols. The characters are compelling???I found myself marveling at (and appalled by) how accurately Golding captures the essence of boyhood and how boys imaginatively and cruelly, fairly and unfairly play and fight and love and hate and think. I remembered my own childhood ???games??? of army, how my friends and I would meet in council to choose scenarios and teams and spend all day hunting each other over the desert mountains behind our houses, lying in wait in ambushes with which to kill each other, with guns and rocks, until the sun started setting and we???d have to go home. Only of course the boys on the coral island can???t go home when the sun sets. I care for Ralph, Piggy, and Simon, and grieve so much for them. ???I got the conch!???

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great story - bad narration

I love this tale. Read it years ago and so looked forward to hearing it. However, the author should NOT have read this book. Had some difficulties with his lack of expressions. Quality of sound improved a little after chapter 5. I hope that some day it is re-done with a different narrator (unabridged of course!).

68 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charles
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-31-11

a great listen

This book is both beautiful and terrifying; timeless and of its time (post world war 2, mid 50s). It gives real insight into the human condition. If you have not read it, or even if you have, I highly recommend this recorded version.

I have listened to hundreds of audio books over the past few years and often refer to reviews, but this is the first one I've written. Some of the other reviewers do not like the naration, which is by the author. The naration has a "matter of fact" quality and is not a dramatization. But in my opinion, this does not detract from the story. As the author states in his concluding remorks, "it is not what the author brings to the story, but what the reader takes from it that matters." His calm tone makes this reading all the more powerfull.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

writing - A+, narration - C

My first "read" of this book is in listening to this audio version. Although the writing is good, frankly, the narrator's voice lulls me to sleep. He sounds like he has marbles in his mouth much of the time. I respect the author highly, but not as a narrator. I am struggling to pay attention, wading through this classic.

41 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

As chilling now as it ever was

Lord of the Flies inspired vigorous debate in my high school English class, and the Peter Brook film version certainly did the book justice. It's interesting sometimes to turn to a piece of literature that you know already and experience it as an audiobook. In this case, I didn't see the Peter Brook film as I listened, nor did I have the same response to the book that I had as a student. This was a completely fresh take on a classic that remains controversial in its assertion that a society built and populated by mankind is destined to fail because innate human weakness will triumph over higher notions. It's a chilling view, and I, for one, can't prove that Golding was wrong. We have only faith in human goodness to keep anarchy from prevailing. Is that faith only possible when one can afford it?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tim
  • Fremont, NE, United States
  • 06-18-05

Other than Narration, I Beg to Differ

First of all, let me say that I agree with the criticism of the narration. After listening to somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 audiobooks, I can say without reservation that this is the worst narration I've heard. There are times when it is great to have the author read the book, but this was not one of them. Little to no expressiveness in the voice, even when dealing with dialog in situations dealing with life & death.

Sadly, I cannot tell whether the poor narration affected my view of the book. This was one "classic" that I was left scratching my head, wondering why it is a classic. At 5 disks, one track, the story doesn't really get moving much until midway into the 4th disk. I will say that the last disk is interesting, but in my opinion, didn't make up for the rest of the book. After hearing so much about how great this book was, I was greatly disappointed. Ranks far below classics such as "Oliver Twist", "Wuthering Heights", "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and others that really live up to their billing. In my opinion, this one did not.

One other positive was the author's commentary on his writing of the book and the meaning of the book in both a prologue and appendix. This was interesting in spots.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Professional Readers Only

The book is awesome, we all know it is. The problem is that the author narrated the book. That was a huge mistake. I couldn't listen to it. I ended up just reading it because there was no other option for audio available at audible. The voice has a slight English accent, no problem there but it is very monotone with little variation on character voice. I would listen to an excerpt before purchasing.

37 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Horrific narration

An awful narration -- the worst narration I have ever experienced. The author should have thought twice before deciding to narrate. A professional narrator would have brought the whole essence of this beautifully written story alive. What a shame!

38 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


You should have read this in high school, if not I order you to read it now. If you have not read it since high school, read it again. This could be considered a horror, mostly for it's accuracy of what, would most likely happen. There are some intense scary times towards the end.

In preschool, kids notice difference in skin color and they notice handicaps, but they don't judge. By elementary school they have learned who to hate and who to feel superior too. In the 60's I remember a girl in my fourth grade class who was constantly put down, because she wore metal braces on her legs. I would like to think things have change since then, but just a few years back, I made friends with a guy at the gym. He often had to use a walker and one of his legs was bent inwards. I never asked him what was wrong and he never said. He was in his mid twenties. One day he was telling me about a guy who threatened to beat him up, because he was handicapped. The guy told him he hated people who were handicapped and they did not deserve to live. In this story Piggy, who has no name, while everyone else does, is constantly treated like a stupid no body. Piggy is overweight.

I love Golding's introduction on why he wrote the book and his after words on what you should get out of it. A lot of people had trouble with his narration. He is not a polished narrator and normally I prefer polished, but I thought his reading fit into the whole theme of the book. It is about boys, not a reading of Shakespeare.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dennis
  • 01-16-08

Great Book

The recording is good and the pace is leisurely. The author reads this book and he has an English accent. I think that his accent and narration is perfect for the setting of the story. Even though he doesn't do characterizations (different voices), I was able to get into the characters. The symbolism of the story is what truly makes this book a classic. As a bonus, the author comments on his writing at the end. I recommend this book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful