Pincher Martin by William Golding

‘He was struggling in every direction, he was the centre of the writhing and kicking knot of his own body.’

Meet Christopher Hadley ‘Pincher’ Martin, temporary lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Blown off his ship by a German torpedo.  Alone.

Usually, when I write a book review, I try to give some sense of what the book is about, where it is set, and how I reacted to it.  Most books lend themselves to this approach if, mindful of spoilers (for fiction), I avoid too much detail.

Alas, ‘Pincher Martin’ is not in the category of ‘most books’.  It’s a book best read without knowing anything about the story.  It’s a book to read, to think about, and then (in my case at least) to reread. Mr Golding achieved something quite extraordinary in this (comparatively) short novel: we are in Pincher Martin’s mind, and it’s an unforgettable journey.  It’s worth taking the time to read it.


Jennifer Cameron-Smith