Experiences That Might Prompt One to Write Lord of the Flies

Things that happened to Lord of the Flies author William Golding, as recounted by Times critic Dwight Garner in his review of John Carey’s new Golding biography:

– “The school’s placement interviewers privately noted that he was ‘N.T.S.’ (not top shelf) and ‘Not quite’ (not quite a gentleman).”

– “During one of his first sexual experiences, the girl asked him, mortifyingly, ‘Should I have all that rammed up my guts?’ (‘Yes,’ Golding stammered.)”

– “While in the Navy, he caused an explosion in his pants by placing bomb detonators and a battery in the same pocket. Luckily, no important bits were blown sideways.”

– “When he was a schoolteacher, writing his first novels during class in assignment books, the other teachers would tweak him, asking, ‘How’s the masterpiece coming on?'”

– “One of his boats sank. In a car, he’d get lost a few miles from home.”

– “He was no luckier with hobbies.”

– “Many of Golding’s misadventures involved drink. He fell a lot, missing couches he meant to sit on.”

Carey summarizes Golding’s boyhood thus: “He was alienated from his parents and his brother and had no friends.”