Golding @ 100

Like his novels William Golding’s complexities reveal themselves slowly but startle when they do. His dislike of publicity and the endless analysis of his books was fierce and famous. He seems to have been fierce about everything though, most of all his obsessions. His daughter Judy, Tobias Hill and biographer John Carey, unpacked the obseesions neatly as a centenary tribute: chess, the sea, spiders, forests, and writing itself. Fear and love alternated – especially with the sea, women and forests. He thought of himself as a monster and professed to be scared of so much, yet his record in WWII proved that he was an immensely couragous naval commander. Perhaps, though, his greatest obsession was self-criticism. What other writer would leave an archive of manuscripts much bigger than his published output? Who else would write two utterly different autobiographies and three more novels and leave them unpublished? He would not have been happy as a blogger.