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Read of the Week: The Inheritors by William Golding

August 17, 2016

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Our latest installment of Read of the Week comes courtesy of Sue, a Practice Mentor at The Reader, who suggests The Inheritors by William Golding.

Recently, during a discussion about where it might be that we respond to what we read – in the gut; at the front, or top, of the head; deep in the shadowy hinterlands at the back of the brain – my mind was taken to a book I was directed to a few years ago, and I can remember being unexpectedly affected by it.

Returning to the first few pages of William Golding’s The Inheritors now, I can see why I find myself here. The Neanderthal family has no language with which to respond to experience but the creatures are able to communicate (they are brilliant ‘whole body’ listeners!) as they lead their uncertain lives in a world that becomes more and more precarious with the arrival of a different species.

golding-inheritors I am looking forward to revisiting this novel not only to ponder (amongst other things!) the relationship between language and consciousness, but also to enjoy again its intense, fast-paced and very moving story.

Lok yearned suddenly for the mindless peace of their accord. He put his fit of temper on one side and crept back to the fire, pretending to be miserable so that they pretended to comfort him. Then there was silence again and one mind or no mind in the overhang.

    Quite without warning, all the people shared a picture inside their heads. This was a picture of Mal, seeming a little removed from them, illuminated, sharply defined in all his gaunt misery. They saw not only Mal’s body but the slow pictures that were waxing and waning in his head. One above all was displacing the others, dawning through the cloudy arguments and doubts and conjectures until they knew what it was he was thinking with such dull conviction.” – William Golding, The Inheritors

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