Pincher Martin (published in America as Pincher Martin: The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin), is a novel by British writer William Golding, first published in 1956. It is Golding's third novel, following The Inheritors and his debut Lord of the Flies. The novel is one of Golding's best-known novels, and is noted for being existential and minimalistic in setting.
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The action of Pincher Martin seems quite simple at first. A British navy officer is blown off his ship by a German torpedo and must try to survive alone on a small, rocky island in the North Atlantic. Yet, although many of the details of Christopher’s heroic efforts to stay alive are starkly realistic in a sort of Robinson Crusoe fashion, more often his island world and his grotesque struggle seem strangely unreal. His battle is described as though it were against some mystical force within himself as much as against the hard, cold rock that seems to constitute his external world
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. Christopher 'Pincher' Martin is blown from the bridge of his navy ship and struggles in the tumult of the ocean for survival. The massive lashing force of the sea threatens to consume him, but he sights a spit of boulders, and clambers onto it. He comes to realise where he is - the tiny isolated rock in the North Atlantic that only appears on the weather charts.
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Christopher Martin, the sole survivor of a torpedoed destroyer, is stranded upon a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Pitted against him are the sea, the sun, the night cold and the terror of his isolation. While most readers are aware of William Golding as the writer of Lord of the Flies, it is Pincher Martin, his third novel, that speaks most directly to contemporary readers. This shocking, unusual bullet of a book is the definitive survival novel and has an ending that is guaranteed to leave you reeling. Christopher Martin, the sole survivor of a torpedoed destroyer, is stranded upon a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. To drink there is a pool of rain water; to eat there are weeds and sea anemones.
Pincher Martin, now more than forty years old, is possibly Golding's best novel, though it may owe something to Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, and also to Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica. A true blue nautical Englishman, Golding had a real feeling for the sea and many or most of his best books are inspired by it. The Spire, about the obsessed churchman Dean Jocelin, is spoiled by its portentous, rather tawdry symbolism, while The Inheritors moves into that territory of n already tracked out by .
by. Golding, William, 1911-1993. Also published as The two deaths of Christopher Martin. Canon EOS 5D Mark II.