A short novel, left in draft form when the author died suddenly in 1993. Portraying a woman's experience - something rare in Golding's oeuvre - the story features one of his finest creations, Arieka the Pythia.
An aged prophetess at Delphi, the most sacred oracle in ancient Greece, looks back over her strange life as the Pythia, the First Lady and voice of the god Apollo. As a young virgin with disturbing psychic powers, Arieka was handed over to the service of the shrine by her parents. She has now spent sixty years as the very medium, the torn mouthpiece, of equivocal mantic utterances from the bronze tripod in the sanctuary beneath the temple. Over a lifetime at the mercy of god and priest and people she has watched the decay of Delphi's fortunes and its influence in the world. Her reflections on the mysteries of the oracle, which her own weird gifts have embodied, are matched by her feminine insight into the human frailties of the High Priest himself, a true Athenian, whose intriguing against the Romans brings about humiliation and disaster. This extraordinary short novel was left in draft at Golding's sudden death in 1993 but it is a psychological and historical triumph.
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William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before he became a schoolmaster he was an actor, a lecturer, a small-boat sailor and a musician. A now rare volume, Poems, appeared in 1934. In 1940 he joined the Royal Navy and saw action against battleships, and also took part in the pursuit of the Bismarck. He finished the war as a Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship, which was off the French coast for the D-Day invasion, and later at the island of Welcheren. After the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury and was there when his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954. He gave up teaching in 1961. Lord of the Flies was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. Golding listed his hobbies as music, chess, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself). Many of these subjects appear in his essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. He won the Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage in 1980, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988. He died at his home in the summer of 1993. The Double Tongue, a novel left in draft at his death, was published in June 1995.
Double Tongue by William Golding
Used - Very Good
Faber & Faber
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