Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage

by William Golding


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374526405
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Series: To the Ends of the Earth , #1
Pages: 278
Sales rank: 684,623
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

William Golding (1911–93) was born in Cornwall, England. His first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954 and became an international bestseller. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Rites of Passage 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
jeanned on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The British navy is stretched to its limits near the end of the Napoleonic Wars as Sir Edmund Talbot makes his way from England to Australia, where his godfather has secured him a position with the Governor. As a parting gift, Talbot receives a journal in which he is to entertain his godfather with tales of his passage. These entries recount the ship's affairs through the eyes of this foppish, entitled, narcissist. No, I do not like Edmund Talbot. His fellow passengers are drawn as caricatures in support of his own superiority, including the Reverend Colley. Colley's mistreatment by all is meant to include the reader, but I felt so distanced from Talbot that I had not shared in his delight at Colley's humiliation. I found this winner of the 1980 Man Booker Prize to be technically brilliant was never emotionally engaged, so my rating is 9 out of 10 stars.
michaelm42071 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The journal of young Edmund Talbot, in the form of a long letter to his noble godfather and patron, about his adventures on board an unnamed ship on its way to Australia around 1820, by my guess. Talbot suffers from mal de mer, blunders into the captain¿s sacred space on the quarterdeck, has a brief affair with a well-used nymph, and has an extremely superficial take on his fellow passengers and the officers until things get serious. The young clergyman aboard is ill-used by two of the officers and the men and describes this in a letter to his sister that Talbot finds after the cleric, in an ill-advised attempt to minister to the men, is apparently gotten drunk and then is sexually assaulted (he may have made an advance toward one of the men earlier), takes to his bed, and dies. There is an enquiry in which Billy Rogers, Foretopman, implies he can implicate officers, and the enquiry is promptly closed, the cleric died of a fever, and that¿s that. Talbot begins to reassess the officers and the other passengers; though he is still a pompous twit, his education may have begun.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When Edmund Talbot leaves England on a ship bound for Australia, he begins a journal dedicated to his godfather and patron. In it he records details of daily life and detailed descriptions of the passengers and crew (many of whom are quite interesting characters). He takes pride in learning maritime vocabulary; that is, once he has overcome extreme seasickness. As a member of the educated upper class he remains at arms' length from most of the passengers and views events with amusement and a certain detached superiority. His social interactions are limited primarily to Summers, an unusually well-spoken officer. Also on board is a young parson, the Reverend James Colley. For reasons that go unexplained until the end of the book, The ship's captain despises the parson from the outset. Colley persists in currying the captain's favor, and also attempts to befriend Edmund. Edmund initially tries to support the parson, encouraging services to be held on ship. But he is ultimately repelled by Colley's over-eager attempts at friendship. Eventually the tension surrounding Colley reaches its climax, and when Edmund finds a journal written by Colley, the narrative point of view shifts. The voyage is recounted for the reader, pointing out details Edmund had missed, and highlighting Edmund's own role in the conflict. I liked Golding's technique of telling this sea tale through the two journals. The strengths and foibles of both men were clearly portrayed, and the journals brought the voyage to life with vivid detail. Golding also offers a candid view of the English class structure, which is as present at sea as it is on land. In fact, there is an entire subculture on ship -- the crew and "the emigrants" -- that the reader is barely exposed to, since neither Edmund nor Reverend Colley would mix with them.This book is the first of a trilogy which was made into a BBC dramatization, To the Ends of the Earth. The story in Rites of Passage was the best part of the dramatization for me, and even though it was familiar I still enjoyed reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
puzzleman More than 1 year ago
Maybe not a 4, but close. I was reminded of Captain Bligh when the captain was in the picture. And the narrator was also a dandy as was Mr. Christian. However, he was not as heroic in the end. The story was entertaining, often amusing, sometimes dark.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago